Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Just when things begin getting quiet again...

Tragedy strikes!  Ok, that might be a bit dramatic but at least you get the idea... 

Yep, that's our wild man, Connor Judson, in the emergency room of our local hospital this past Sunday evening.  The official story is that Connor was victim of a "hit-and-run" involving a shopping cart at the grocery store an hour before this picture was snapped.  But what actually happened is: Connor was sitting in the seat of the buggy while his daddy was picking over the produce trying to find the freshest fruits available.  Connor's big brother stood up on the end of the cart causing the cart to do a 'wheelie' (as my husband describes it) landing Connor-man on the concrete floor penned by the unruly buggy.  X-rays show a "buckle fracture" just beneathe his knee cap.  We saw an ortho-pedic surgeon today.  He wants to give Connor a week in his "temporary cast" to allow the swelling in his leg to go down, and next week will re-cast him in a permanent cast that he will be confined to for six weeks. 

The shirt Connor was wearing at the time of accident bears extreme irony since his father tends to be the most accident prone man that has ever lived!

Let me tell you - in case you might have missed any previous post about Connor - he is all boy and knows one speed - full speed ahead!  As of right now he is still experiencing so much pain in his leg that he hasn't tried to move it much.  The few times he did try, he wasn't able to.  Keeping him still for so long is going to prove to be quite a task.  We are stocked up on coloring books and Leapster games.  Thank goodness for Netflix instant stream.  I hope to keep him well entertained and occupied in an effort to keep him from bouncing around too much.

This should be interesting...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Are You Dead Yet?

One of the unforeseen calamities of parenthood comes with each moment that your young child opens his mouth in the company of others.  You never know what is about to come forth to embarass you for the rest of your days.  We are blessed to have the influence of Bro. Marvin Howard in our children's lives.  Dacey and Jaden have been taken guitar lessons for him for the past three years.  His prayers and words spoken over our children always give us a great comfort in all that they learn from him.  He recently ran this article in our local newspaper about a Monday afternoon encounter he had with our eight year old son, Isaac.  Enjoy!


The Good Life 

I am blessed on Monday afternoons to have a host of wonderful children and young people pass through the doors of our home.  They come to learn how to play the guitar.  I have graduated several students in the past and always have a steady supply of new students that are eager to learn how to coax some music out of six strings and a few pounds of wood.

My first two students on Monday are Dacey and Jaden, a brother and sister.  They are the children of Tommy and Samantha Sivils.  On most Mondays, Dacey and Jaden are accompanied by their two younger brothers, Isaac and Conner, who tag along to enjoy some time on the farm while guitar lessons are going on.  When everyone piles out of the car they head to the various “venues” that are available on our six acres.  One of their favorite destinations was the chicken coop before a varmint did all our chickens in a few weeks ago.  The kids also like to go upstairs and pull the toys out of the attic.  Susan keeps a “Hungry Hippos” game and other toys there for such an occasion.

Yesterday, as the Sivils kids were getting ready to leave, Isaac, the eight-year-old, engaged me in conversation.  He said, “I really like your house.”  I replied with a simple, “Thank you.”  Isaac then said, “Do you want to trade your house for our house?”  I informed Isaac that we really liked our house too and hoped to spend the rest our lives there.  I went on to say that when we went to be with the Lord our children would probably want the house.  Not one to give up easily, Isaac said, “What if your children don’t want the house?”  I casually quipped, “Well, then, I guess you could have it.”  I thought that was the end of the conversation but as Isaac was heading out of the house he said, “Call me when you’re dying so I can have your house.”  I am glad he was on his way out the door so he could not see me nearly die from laughter.

Art Linkletter , in his heyday, hosted a show called, “Kids Say the Darndest Things”.   In all the years I watched Art Linkletter I don’t think I ever heard anything as funny as what Isaac said yesterday.  Tommy and Samantha are raising their children in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4) and it is not uncommon for an eight-year-old in that environment to have such a matter-of-fact understanding of death.  Tommy and Samantha home-school their children and are doing a wonderful job raising them.

My conversation with Isaac yesterday served to remind me of the brevity of life and the futility of spending our days here focusing on the things which are seen rather than the things which are unseen (2 Corinthians 4:18).  Paul informs us that the things that are seen are only temporary but the things that are not seen are eternal.  Jesus told a parable about a rich farmer who had a bumper crop.  The farmer said to himself, “What shall I do because I have no room to store all my produce?”  He answered his own question with words that came from a heart that was preoccupied with the things of this world—“This will I do: I will pull down my barns and build greater; and there I will bestow all my fruits and my goods.  And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.” (Luke 12:18-19).  God’s answer was, “You fool, tonight you will die.  Then who will own all the things that you have collected.”  The conclusion that Jesus draws from the parable is that everyone who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God will meet the same fate. 
Isaac was my tutor in reminding me of what is important and what is not.  As much as we enjoy the home that God has given us, we are not going to take it with us when we leave this world.  When the time of our departure is at hand the only thing that will matter is the treasures we have laid up in heaven.  Where our treasure is there will our heart be also (Matthew 6:19-21).  We begin laying up those treasures only when our citizenship in the Kingdom is established through faith in Christ.  - Bro. Marvin Howard


Tommy and I were thrilled that instead of taking offense to such a comment that Bro. Marvin found the humor and the lesson to teach in it.  After blushing a nice shade of red for several minutes after reading the article, I too was in the throws of laughter at the thought! 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Thorn in My Flesh

Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.  2 Corinthians 12:7-10

At times the pain becomes so excruciating that I cannot force my mind to focus on anything else.  I am young still.  It is my desire to be active.  I want to enjoy life to the full and live the abundant life Christ came to give me.  And yet my days are often spent on the couch watching and waiting.

Oh, it isn't always like this.  Sometimes I go for weeks at a time with no sign of this horrible disease.  Then all at once I am struck down. 

I was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia when I was eighteen years old and a freshmen in college.  The beast stole my rest.  It caused my body to ache.  It didn't take long for my grades and motivation to hit rock bottom.  I withdrew from school during the second semester. 

Over the past year the pain in my lower back has become increasingly worse.  It usually radiates down into my hips and then spreads through my legs.  There are days that I can hardly move.  At thirty-four years old, I have had to become dependent on a cane or wheelchair to assist with my mobility on these days.  The use of such a tool is most humbling (and humiliating) for me.  I want to look young and act young while I am young.  Yet when a flare-up strikes, I feel like my feet are weighted down with anchors, and my walk is more that of a ninety year old woman than one in her mid-thirties.

From the outside you'd never guess that there was such turmoil stirring within my body.  (Unless of course you catch me on day when I'm forced to use a mobility device as described above.)  I usually try to have a cheerful countenance and be friendly.  This "invisible illness" leaves me feeling alone and misunderstood.  I am very blessed to have a husband and children that are sensitive to this often debilitating sickness.  Yet many people outside my immediate family cannot comprehend the extent of my pain.  They do not understand why I have to cancel last minute - especially when I seemed to feel so good the day before.  They do not realize that I used all my strength yesterday and have none left for today.  My kids have missed out on sleep-overs, play-dates, dance classes, and more because of fibromyalgia.  They are always good natured about it, but my heart breaks for them.  I want so badly to be out in the yard playing catch with them, pushing them on the swing-set, or jumping on the trampoline with them.  But my body won't let me.  I know I have few years left that they want me to be part of those things, and I'm missing out.

Today is a "good" day.  Medication has relieved me from the constant pain that I felt over the past several days.  Yet the six baskets of laundry waiting to be washed remind me of the past week that I have had to spend on the couch.  I'll try to get a lot of it caught up today while being careful not to over-do to the point that I can't do anything tomorrow. 

As was with Paul, I know that God has allowed this thorn in my flesh for a purpose.  Right now I don't know that purpose, but I do know that God will work even this for His good.  For now I am standing firm on the promises that He has given me and am encouraged by the Word He has confirmed in my heart:

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.  James 1:2-4 (The Message)

Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.  Hebrews 10:36 (NLT)