Saturday, November 29, 2008

Hope in spite of Heartache

I took a trip to Oklahoma City just before Thanksgiving. I lived in OKC for 19 years and I still have a 33 y/o son living there. I knew this trip would be hard for me, as my son is going through troubled waters.

Tim is a very intelligent young man with a college degree. I always thought he would do very well on his own, and for quite some time he did. Then in 2002 he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. At that time he was very unstable and I went through a very tough year with him. He got some help from a mental health group and was doing better.

Tim was doing fairly well the last several months. He is living on his own although I help manage his money. I was so encouraged a few months ago as he seemed to be coming back to the Lord. (For a long time he felt that God could never love him anymore). But a couple months ago he said "I know God hasn't given up on me" and "I'm turning my life around". However, shortly after that, a friend of his in OKC called me and said he was exhibiting strange behavior. Then, I think partially from the influence of another person, he started stealing. He was arrested and put in jail.

Tim was out of jail on his own recognisance (OR) and I thought he had a court date for Nov. 18. I already had planned to go at that time and had my ticket. However, 4 days after he was out he was caught stealing again and is back in jail. It seems that his disease is out of control again.

I was only able to see Tim for 15 minutes while I was in OKC. We of course had to talk through a speaker in a glass window. He of course wanted me to get him out; he also feels he is responsible for his "friend" who is also in jail. I cannot reason logically with him.

It has been my belief that, although there are other contributing factors, Satan has determined to keep Tim from being a servant of the Lord. That is still my belief, and so I pray daily that Satan will be bound in his life and that Tim will be restored mentally and spiritually.

I have read some scriptures recently that I am claiming for Tim:

Psalm 142 (a prayer of David) "I cry to the Lord; I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy. I ...tell him my trouble." "You are my refuge; ...listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue (Tim) from those who pursue him, for they are too strong for him." "Set (Tim) free from his prison, that he (and I) may praise Your name"

Philipians 1:6 "...being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus".

I hesitated to write about this at first, as I sometimes feel I have somehow been a failure. However I decided it was really pride keeping me from wanting to share this. I believe there are christian women who read this blog who will share my burden in prayer, and so I have chosen to post it here.
Tim in December, 2007 in front of his OKC apartment.

Monday, November 17, 2008

What Were We Thinking?

The best laid plans of mice and men--and family! We had planned for some time to have a work day at the farm, to do some cleaning and take scrap steel to the salvage. Plans were going well; we had a wonderful man in his 80's bringing a bobcat and a truck; we had a big dumpster available. I guess we knew it would possibly be cold in mid-November. We just hadn't realized how cold it is when temperatures are in the low 40's with wind and rain.

We all gathered, put on our cold weather gear, and started to work. We had a rest station set up with coffee, hot cider, soup and sandwiches and a kerosene heater. I felt like it was going well for a few hours. However by noon, we were pretty much "chilled to the bone"! Even though I'm an avid blogger, it was difficult to take pictures in these conditions. My sister, Brenda managed to do better, and also has a good summary of the day, Bone Cold.

We ended the day with a family meeting at McDonald's, and warmed up with some hot chocolate. Nothing like a little comfort food (or drink) to give you a better perspective on the situation.

I don't think we're planning any more work days until Spring!

Monday, November 10, 2008

An Amish Getaway

Bed and Breakfast

Wednesday, November 5th was our 3rd wedding anniversary. I decided we should get away to relax and rest. (My husband is a workaholic and is always working at something if we're at home). So I booked this bed and breakfast in Nappanee, Indiana. It wasn't a long drive, but far enough away that we could have a mini vacation. So, we left on Friday afternoon, arriving here about 5:00 pm.

Amish Buggy Ride

I had also arranged for us to have an Amish dinner at an Amish farmhouse. When we arrived, the husband took us for a buggy ride before dinner. Even though it was a cold evening, it wasn't really uncomfortable, as the buggy was completely enclosed.

I didn't take any pictures at the dinner, out of respect for our host and hostess. They were an older amish couple. The dinner was delicious--chicken, ham, broccoli-cauliflower salad, rolls with homemade peanut butter or jam, mashed potatoes and gravy, dressing, home-grown corn, and apple pie. I was stuffed!

I was a little surprised, as I thought the amish had very primitive homes, but their home was beautiful. It was decorated beautifully, and they had gas lights on the ceiling that also heated the rooms. I was very impressed.

Home of Jumbo Jelly Beans

On Saturday we decided to do a little sight-seeing (actually I decided and he went along with it). We were headed to Shipshewana, but stopped first in a little town called Wakarusa, which has a dime store that is famous for it's jumbo jelly beans. They have all different flavors, and they really are big jelly beans. They also have other nostalgic candies from the past. We bought some jelly beans and taffy and a few other candies.

Do I need a hat?

By the time we got to Shipshewana it was cold and windy. We stopped first at Yoder's, a big store that has a hardware store with all kinds of interesting things you don't often see other places. I shopped and Lynn sat in a Rocking Chair to read and chill. What a trooper! Then we went downtown where they have all kinds of craft shops and specialty shops. I decided to try on a hat for size, and he thought it warranted a picture!

We ate lunch in Shipshewana and then headed back to the Bed and Breakfast. Both of us were tired so we took a nap. We read a little while and then went to Amish Acres for dinner. It is an Amish Farm that has a barn restaurant, a round theatre, and some shops. We thought about going to the play after dinner (they were doing "It's a Wonderful Life" ), but it was a little pricey so we decided against it. Back at the B & B he read a little while, and I watched some TV.

After breakfast on Sunday morning, we headed home. It was raining, or sort of a mix of rain and snow for a little while. We stopped in Ft Wayne, at Lowe's, as Lynn needed to get some things. Then we went to Texas Road House for a steak dinner to finish off our weekend.

We had a good relaxing time, but it's always good to be back home! Lynn thanked me for planning our little getaway, as he really did have time to relax and read, something he doesn't take time to do very often. In spite of rainy, cold weather we had a good time.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Make New Friends--Keep The Old

At Naomi's home

Naomi with the geese

A fountain in the park
(I love this picture)

Some of the trees

Some of us are privileged to have many "true, blue" friends, the kind that will stick by you and support you, no matter what is going on in your life. I think we are truly fortunate if we have even just a few friends like that.

Naomi is that kind of friend. She lived across the street from my mother-in-law in Oklahoma City. After my first husband passed away, my mother-in-law, Gloria, and I became really good friends. She is a sweet lady with a sense of humor, and we really enjoy each other's company. Naomi and Gloria had also become best friends and would see each other every day. When both of them were still able, they would go to art classes together and just "hang out".

Naomi is physically handicapped; she has gotten worse and is now wheel-chair bound. She is a retired nurse, has written poetry and short stories (and been published). She has such a positive attitude and it is a delight to visit with her.

In June 2008 it became apparent that she could not continue to take care of herself, so she has moved to live with her daughter in Terre Haute, Indiana. I know it has been a difficult adjustment, but her daughter is taking good care of her. She especially misses her friend, Gloria, so very much. Now that I am re-married I live in Woodburn, Indiana so I decided I wanted to go visit Naomi. I spent this past Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning with her, and we had a wonderful visit!

Naomi had not been out of the house since her move in June. I told her I was going to get her out for a while. We were able to get her to my car in her wheel chair and so we were off for our adventure. Wednesday was an absolutely beautiful day, so I took her to a park. She is a nature lover, and was so excited at seeing all the beautiful trees. We also got to feed the geese. What a great day to be outside and enjoying each other and nature.

On Thursday morning I took her to Walmart. As a woman, I know sometimes it's just nice to be able to shop for yourself, instead of having someone always do it for you. Naomi had such a great time; she bought a Christmas present for her daughter, some capri pants for her. She loves pretty dishes, so I bought her a pretty coffee cup and matching bowl for her "grits". She also got some snack items to keep in her room. What a great time she had, and it was really fun for me to be able to do this for her. We finished our morning at Subway, right there in Wal-Mart, and had a little lunch before I took her home.

There is a verse that says, "There is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother". Naomi is that kind of friend. I was so glad that we could have a couple of special outings together.

Post Election Thoughts

I was out of town Wednesday and Thursday, and so I just caught up on some of my blog reading last night. I had not posted any thoughts about the election previously, but obviously was very disappointed in the outcome. However, I was very impressed with the post-election reflections of an internet friend, and so I wanted to share them as a link here. I could not say it any better. We truly need to pray for our leaders and trust God for the outcome, even if that could mean persecution for us as believers.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Fire Power

Starting small
Tearing the Wagon Apart

It got bigger!

Removing a lug nutt

The final step

We've been in the process of cleaning out my Dad's barn. We had an old wagon and a lot of junk wood we wanted to burn. So we got permission from the fire chief to do a controlled burn. It was actually a good day for it. By noon it was up to 70 degrees; the wind wasn't too strong and it was in the right direction to burn away from any buildings.

We started the fire with the small stuff and kept adding to it. When we got ready to burn the wagon it was a real challenge! It was very heavy, as it had a piece of metal attached to the top. Also we needed to get the tires off, as you can't burn rubber (well, I guess you can, but only on the highway!).

Between the 4 of us, Lou and husband Rog, brother Lowell, and I, we finally got the wagon flipped, and then we were able to separate the top from the chassey. We had to use a chain attached to Rog's van to pull the top onto the fire. (You can't tell from the picture, but once it started burning it was quite a big fire.)

The final challenge was getting the lug nutts off the tires, so we could remove them. With a lot of elbow grease and a little "liquid wrench" we finally got the job done.

We were very thankful that we were able to accomplish the burn safely with no one getting hurt and the fire was, in fact, controlled. Now when we go back, we can collect the steel from the burn pile and along with some other metal and steel we still have there, get a little cash for our efforts. All in all, a job well done.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Sugar & Spice and Everything Nice

Jessica, Opening gifts

3 months and going strong

The Telemetry gang represented

What are little girls made of? Sugar and Spice and everything nice--until they are wet, fussy, messy or hungry! But they are Oh, so-o-o cute! Jessica will soon have a little girl to spoil, and so of course--we had to have a shower. Her husband is a doctor, so the shower was given by his partners wife and another doctor--Diana--who held it at her home.

I guess I have a little bit of a competitive spirit, because I won one of the games we played. Then of course, it was time for gifts. I am SO glad I'm past the stage of taking care of babies! However, it is really fun to see all the cute little outfits and new stuff they have for babies these days. I certainly wouldn't mind having a grand-baby to play with once in a while, but I don't think that's going to happen. I may have to find one or two to adopt.

The little guy in the middle picture is 3 months old. His mom is also a nurse on the unit where I worked, so we had a shower for her not so long ago. He's a cutie and was very good and contented at the shower.

I'm very happy for Jessica. My advice to her was to just thoroughly enjoy the baby--they gorw up SO fast! They have one boy and 3 girls already; her son said since it was another girl, he might have to go and live somewhere else! It was a very fun shower--I hadn't been to a baby shower in a long time.

Embracing the Sweat!

This past Saturday my husband, Lynn, and I went to Ohio to do some outdoor work on my Dad's farm. (He passed away in June, and we eventually want to sell it--when the market is better). There is a huge yard around the house and barn that needed mowing. Also, there was lots of brush, scraggly bushes, weeds, etc up around all of the buildings. It looked a little overwhelming to me,but we just started, one building at a time.

I had just retired from my nursing career on Thursday. To celebrate, Lynn bought me 2 pair of work gloves--what a guy! In his defense, I had told him I would need some gloves to go work at the farm, so it wasn't quite like it seemed. It did make for some laughs, however.

The tree by the smaller building in the picture was a walnut tree, and all the walnuts had fallen on the ground. So my first job was to pick up all the walnuts, and then we cleared away all the brush and weeds from around that building. We started a fire in a depressed fire pit in the back yard, and ended up burning brush most of the day.

I started mowing yard, while Lynn was weed-eating, clearing brush etc. I mowed some of the yard by the house, and over half of the barnyard. Let me say, I wasn't quite used to such outdoor activity. Thus the title of this blog--embrace the sweat. That is a phrase I got from my sister Brenda; she has a broken leg and her physical therapist told her it was a good thing to embrace the sweat! Easy for her to say!

I really wish I had thought to take some "before" pictures of the buildings. Suffice it to say that it was quite a mess, and by the time we finished, the yard was mowed, and the barn and 2 other buildings were cleared of weeds and brush.

We started about 10:00 am and finished about 5:30 pm with about a 45 minute break for lunch. We headed to the Barn Restaurant to eat some supper. I bet they wondered at their clientelle--we looked pretty dirty and scruffy. They were gracious and didn't say anything so we had a good meal and then headed for home. What a day! These past 2 days I've had aches and pains from muscles that had forgotten how to work. Guess I'll have to give them regular exercise to keep them in shape--now that I'm "retired".

A Time to Celebrate

The Cousins at Applebee's

Sometimes something that starts out small seems to just grow and expand. Such is the case with the "little" retirement lunch that we were planning for my retirement. Two other cousins, Carol and Barb actually retired this fall from teaching as well; so back in July, Carol said, "we'll have to get together for lunch after you retire". I was actually planning to retire Sept. 30th but ended up working for another month, and officially retired on Oct. 30th.

I told Carol I would be available on Friday, October 31st, if she wanted to get together. We asked Barb, of course, as she was also newly retired. But then we decided we might as well invite siblings if they wanted to come. WELL, as it turned out we had 9 out of a possible 14 Gisel Girls cousins at lunch at Applebee's on Friday. (We actually have 13 girls, but we adopted Carolyn, a cousin-in-law). We apparently have some die-hard party goers in our group who won't miss a party if at all possible. My sister Brenda arranged to be there from Wheaton, Illinois. Then, much to our surprise, my cousin Dee came all the way from Arthur, Illinois just for our lunch celebration!

What a fun time we had! We ate and talked, and talked, and laughed and laughed. Fortunately Applebee's wasn't extremely busy, so I don't think we made a total nuisance of ourselves. We arrived at 12:00 noon, finally left the restaurant about 2 pm, but we stood in the parking lot and talked for about another hour. I received a balloon, and several cards, and I just really felt very special.

I'm already working on trying to find another occasion that would warrant getting together for lunch. Now, at least, if something fun-to-do comes up, I won't have to worry about my work schedule. Life is good!