Archive for February, 2011

I Trust My Heart in His

Not really! I have just been exploring several different avenues for this new home-made therapy program I am developing for Chris. (sheesh – it almost sounds like I have a clue what I am doing! lol!) Today I hooked up his computer and piled up in his room with him and listened to a bunch of his music…he was wide awake like he was really thinking. I am not sure what he thought about hearing his own voice…

I started crying when I heard his music. Don’t think I could have stopped it either…Especially because one of the phrases in one of his last songs was “I want to sing again”…yip, that’s the one that did it to me…that’s why I say maybe I’m gonna need therapy! lol! – you know I’m kiddin’!!

He seems to be coming around and although that is a really good thing and makes for a good day it also catapults me into an “uh-oh what-do-I-do-with-this” mode. I don’t want to offer too much stimuli and have him going back to sleep on me! But I don’t want to waste a second of alertness if there’s something we can be working on!

And now there’s the decision about therapy. Is he ready? Do I need to wait longer? What if I call and they say, “No.”? You see how the questions start racking up in my brain! I really have to trust that what I sense is correct and start calling them. Maybe they can help him be more mobile.

James 1 tells us that if we ask for wisdom He will give it. It’s just a blunt  out-there statement. I must trust that He will give me the wisdom to know what to do about all the situations we are dealing with. Proverbs 2:6 also says the Lord gives wisdom out of His mouth comes knowledge and understanding. So this is where I must trust my heart in His.

It’s funny because my emotions seem to parallel my running once again. I signed up for a 10K and I’ll be racing Saturday. I’ve been training and getting ready but still this morning while I was running I was like – dude, that’s 6.2 miles – and it’s a race! What were you thinking? Anticipation was eating my lunch!

I sort of feel the same way with Chris’ recent improvements. I’m excited but don’t know what I am doing! So today – I will simply trust my heart in His. That’s a nice place to be really if you ask me. Dennis Jernigan has a phrase in one of his songs that says, “I wish I could take your heart into my heart…” I wish I could for today. And only because of the peace and confidence that I’ve felt soar simply through trusting HIm one more time…

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And Here We Go Again!

So it looks like we are going to get to move. Exciting? Yes! and No! At first I was real excited because of all the benefits of moving. We really need the two bedrooms and washer and dryer hookups! Those are gonna be great! And the sidewalks will help make mobility easier for us. The patio is calling for me to get a cup of coffee and come on out to relax even now! Those are all great…then I bottomed out again. Yeah, doesn’t seem to take much.

For one thing this is the first time I’ve got to be somewhat settled in about 5 years; and now it’s going to be disrupted once again. It’s a good disruption I guess. I am pretty happy here too. I even have finally met some of my neighbors and have actual conversations occasionally. And now I gotta move? I actually love living here – I know it’s kinda ghetto – but I am comfortable with it. And I feel badly for leaving them here when I have so much to share about Him with them…

I wonder and second guess myself to death if I am not careful. I think things like  am I just trying to better myself? What’s the point of that? I am really content with a roof, clothing and food…or at least know I want to be content with the basics. I don’t really need better. But then I am reading in Genesis how God made pretty much everyone he had a covenant with wealthy. What’s up with that? I don’t need that – but I would love to be able to support valid ministries and send people on mission trips and such…

And I really do want to get out of the system. My first goal is to be off section 8 by next year when the lease is up. That’s my goal! Then I want to buy a house. Just a modest one with a small yard to grow some veggies!

After we get moved I have begun making arrangements to go get the rest of Chris’ things. And that’s really what bottomed me out this time. Just too final I guess. This really wasn’t the way all of it was supposed to play out. He was supposed to get better and go about life as it was…and I must realize the fact that it is just not happening that way. It has happened that way for lots of others I’ve talked to – but we don’t get that we have to keep trudging through trying to figure out how to keep faith and trust alive while seeing minimal improvements – slowly.

Am I just lying to myself? Is he really improving or am I just wanting him so bad my positive outlook is tainting reality? I can feel people’s thoughts sometimes. I guess that’s what sent me plummeting yesterday. I was talking to the man who has all of Chris’ things. He has been so gracious to allow them to just sit in his house. It’s been a blessing to not have to worry about it all. And it will be good to get all our things in one spot. Maybe seeing his drums will spark something in him.. who knows?

Anyway while talking to him and telling him that Chris is still getting better just real slow. Making small improvements everyday – the same thing I’ve been saying for over two years now…I could feel his doubt. His silence told me everything…and it catapulted me into a reality check. Sure I have God’s word on it…but I still have to stretch Chris’ drawn up hand every day and pray that he will even want to try to play drums again…obviously we don’t get the miracle. That doesn’t mean God’s not working…He just hasn’t done a one-time Wham! You’re healed sort of deal.. actually I have never seen it exactly like that – it’s always a process.

He created our bodies to heal themselves. He built healing in…and I am watching Chris’ body heal…and it’s slow as hell…and I still wonder if I am only deceiving myself about the tomorrows being better…

Now what? I cannot not believe in God. I can’t throw even one part of His word away.. it’s too ingrained in me. We don’t get to experience His miracle power…but maybe somehow He can give this doubter the strength to go one more day…to take one more step…I cannot live without God’s presence in my life. I don’t even want to try…So when I doubt – when I feel like I am failing this huge test at Chris’ expense – I must run to Him and beg Him to hold me one more time.

I have to return to “my” scripture. It’s the one I found when I was so sick and no one could figure out what was wrong. I had no hope. That’s when I found Psalm 57:1 and today I must embrace it again and make it my motto for today…trying to make one more day…

Be merciful to me O Lord

Be merciful to me for I trust in You.

And in the shadow of Your wings I will stay

until these calamities have past.

And if they don’t “pass” and this is just how life is going to play out… I will still trust. I will just have to live in the shelter of His wings…forever.

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Life Goes On

Chris seems to be sleeping a little better and that sure helps me a lot! Actually, tomorrow should be nice because I have actually gotten up to my alarm for the last two mornings. I’m hoping that means that tomorrow I can sleep in a little bit! That really sounds nice…

The band from Chris’ school (Norhtwestern in Natchitoches, LA) sent him a couple of signed drumheads. He got them yesterday. He really perked up and looked at them like he was really reading them! He kept looking at them for a long time. I wish I knew what he was thinking, seeing or feeling. I can’t tell that he feels anything…It is so cool that they still remember him.

Sometimes it seems like the world went on (and it should of course) and we were left sitting on the curb. I know that’s not entirely accurate in my mind, but that’s how it feels. His friends are graduating, getting jobs and getting married. I figure he comes up in a lot of conversations because he was always in lots of weddings! It is good to know in one way that he is still remembered.

One of the people who signed a drum head has never met Chris. But they wrote the coolest thing. They said something like you know a lot about a person by the legacy he left behind – so he must be one really awesome dude! Yea, it made my eyes tear up!

And then the questions start. Why? He had so much potential for God, in music, he was literally changing his world. Even though we didn’t really know the full impact of all he was doing. And now he just sits there…no words from what many called a philosopher.

I really miss who he was. I wonder who he will be when we are through all this. Will he play the drums again? Will he have his voice and his abilities to write music? Will he still argue? I miss him so much…

These times when I am overwhelmed I am not sure what to do. I must trust that God knows what He is doing…what exactly, I have no idea. I will continue to push Chris for all it’s worth. He seems to be responding and I will keep going and doing as much (or as little) as I know. I hope I am on the right track..but it sure would be nice to have someone to show me what to do with him…but I have lost faith in many in the system. So many just “have a job” and want to “get a check” that the people like Chris get shuffled to the side. And then of course there are so many regulations that they really cannot come “off the clock” to help. It’s crazy isn’t it? Chris’ life is basically taken away by someone who had no insurance and then because of insurance the people who have what could help can’t! What a care -free system we’ve created…in the name of protection.

So I return again to Psalm 121 – my help comes from the Lord…I have to trust that He can show me the things to do with Chris. What I’ve started this week seems to be helping. He is moving more and awake more. I must trust that He is giving me the ideas on how to stimulate Chris and help my son. (even though that is frustrating – He can give me ideas – but He can’t heal him?)

Trust – Rest  those are my words for the day. I must trust Him and rest in this day that he has given us. I will do all I can to protect my heart from running away. I must trust just like Job who said Though God slay me – yet will I trust HIm. – and in the back of my mind of course, I hope He doesn’t slay me! lol! He alone is my strength and even though I grow weary – I will wait on Him and then my strength will be renewed… that’s a promise!

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Mom’s Rehab Center

Today marks the fourth day of our newest routine. Chris is tired, but still responding. He is picking the eating back up real well. Still gets tired and doesn’t eat a lot (which can be frustrating to me-and is why we took a little break) – but he’s eating! Had spaghettios and orange juice while ago!

I don’t really know what I am doing and that is what is so scary to me. But I have been in lots of facilities and settings and gleaned some things along the way. Oh! And as soon as I finish paying it off I’ll have my certificate to be a real-live physical therapy aid! Lot of good that did! But you live and learn…

So I have begun to gently push Chris along. It seems that he is responding and I hope that this big move we are about to do won’t set him back much. But when we get moved there will be so many benefits that after some adjustment it will aid his progress. There are sidewalks with ramps so we can actually go for walks. And there’s an asphalt walking trail along the creek along one side of the complex. I can’t wait to explore!! – you know me – always in it for the adventure.

We will have room, a washer/dryer and a patio with a very small fenced in back yard. I really cannot wait!!  –but while we prepare to move I am still pushing Chris. Although he is very vocal about his displeasure with me messing with him more – he appears to be responding. And so I will keep gently prodding him along.

I cannot wait until he really responds and starts talking. I want so badly for his cognition to return. I want him to like something – anything; or hate it for that matter! I long for him to want to watch a show for pure enjoyment; even get mad at me for real!! But until then I will just continue to press him forward.

As far as trust, I just have to trust that I am going in the right direction. The move to another apartment seems to just be falling into place.It’s been simply amazing to see how God has worked things out…that’s been true all along the journey. I have not missed a meal, or paying a  bill. He has just walked it all out with me and for me…it’s really been amazing to watch.

Then this morning a friend sent me a scripture. She didn’t say anything except gave me Romans 4: 20-21. It is talking about Abraham and how he did not waver at God’s promise. Abraham was convinced that God would do what He said He would do. I can say for today I feel that way! But to be honest I have had many – too many to count – times of doubt and wavering…

But for today Mom’s Rehab Center will continue to figure out what to do with this son of mine – you know – the one God has promised to restore…totally unsolicited promises from Him to us…how could we not believe?

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It’s A New Day!

I am so excited right now! We (I) found a new apartment. It is a two bedroom and has a washer/dryer hookup! Yeah! It’s taking some time getting some paperwork done but hopefully by next week we’ll have all that done and it will be official! We will be moving in the next month or so…

That’s quite a challenge to me but I am so excited. IT’s sort of funny. Everyone tells me how difficult it is to find an apartment, especially here in Norman. Well, I waited until I was ready and looked at this one back in April and got it. Then this week I had been waiting and looking and went and looked at one – and I’m moving! It’s slowly falling into place and I cannot wait!

I stepped up Chris’ schedule this week. I don’t really know what I am doing , or what I am supposed to do – but I just have the sense that it’s time to push him some. I am proceeding gently and not adding too much too fast. I am pushing him to stand and sitting on the edge of the bed. So far – so good. Then on the weekend we’ll go a little slower so he (and I ) have a little break. That’s how they do it in rehab!

As he progresses and responds it definitely helps my attitude! I am able to run in the mornings, and he is doing well – that’s a good combination!

I feel like we are really on the edge of change. It is the move of course, but it’s even more than that. We are progressing and God is moving…and I can sense it. I will not be surprised if Chris starts talking and walking… faith is almost that tangible! There’s just a peace that comes in knowing. It’s not always so easily grabbed – so I will enjoy it for now!

It’s a new day – and I am just trusting Him. He is faithful and will always be faithful!

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Ronella’s Birthday

Today is a very special day. It is my daughter’s (first) 29th birthday. Most of you may not have heard a lot about her as she has kind of stepped back into the shadows during this whole ordeal. But she is a trooper for sure!

She is the one who called me the day of Chris’ wreck. She was crying so hard she had to repeat two or three times what she was saying until I could understand her. She didn’t leave the ICU waiting room for 2 weeks – and then I had to kick her out! She was so torn because she wanted to stay with her brother but knew she had responsibilities at home with her husband.

She has definitely felt the crunch and the fire of the furnace as well. But you won’t hear her complain about it. She has helped me so much. When Chris first got in a room and still had a trach I was there alone for a short time. She was coming on the weekend but I told her that I couldn’t do it alone and she and her dad worked out a way to share the responsibility. They alternated weeks so that someone was with me. Otherwise there just was no sleep as Chris needed suctioning all the time!

She and I got to go to Chicago together for me to kind of tie things up until I go could get all my stuff. It was such a refreshing trip! It’s hard to imagine it’s been 2 years already!

She comes every Monday so that I can keep up with my small amount of tutoring. She stays here with Chris and has her toddler to deal with! IT’s a hand full but she does it every week. Then she and her husband, Shawn, come on Friday nights too; just to hang out!

Sometimes in the shuffle so many who hurt can be overlooked. She has pretty much lost her brother – and they were close too. It’s difficult at best.( When we were still in the hospital at Shreveport he responded to her better than anyone else. ) She also has lost her mother in a sense, because I am so tied up with Chris. We have set aside another mother/daughter day. We did it last year and had a blast so we are doing it again one Saturday coming up.

I hope you get a chance to meet Ronella. She is a wonderful sister, daughter, wife and mother. And above all that she is a beautiful example of what a Christain woman should look like! She is a great mother too! I am so proud of her and I am so sorry that she gets overlooked in the furnace!!

Happy Birthday Ronella – I love you!

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Back to the Daily Grind…

I certainly had an interesting weekend! I got to get out a little and went over to Fort Smith, AR and spent some time with God’s wonderful people! I met new people and enjoyed time with friends. It was very refreshing to be “normal” for a few hours, laughing and talking. I was on the radio too sharing some of Chris’ story with those faithful who continue to pray for us. I am amazed at how far-reaching prayer has been…

So when I got back I was very refreshed. It was just great to get to hang out for a while. And Chris did good while I was gone too. He slept well and responded well to my sister and those who stayed with him. There were lots of players helping make it a great little get away! I wish I had a bunch of money to give them for sitting with him!

Then yesterday my long time best friend Ginger calls out of the blue. She came by (and even brought me some of her home-made spaghetti!) That was a real treat. We’ve been friends since we were 8 – that’s more than 40 years! She was pretty impressed with how far along Chris has come since she last saw him. She was surprised at the independence he had (helping with the transfer and taking his own shoes off). It helps me see how far he’s come to look back at where he was last year too.

And today is back to the daily grind! I have decided to push Chris a little harder and see what kind of results I get. I notice when he sits and stands he seems to wake up. But then he takes a nap because it wears him out. He sat by himself yesterday on the side of the bed for about 2 minutes. I will continue to do that and try to get him to increase his time…There’s just still so much hesitation because I am so afraid I will do something wrong. But I have to take the chance because it might be right!

Taking care of him and trying to make decisions can be overwhelming…I struggle trying to balance it all with the things I feel the Lord is wanting me to do for now. But I found some encouragement this morning in Paul’s writings. Those who have been following along know I am reading the Bible through alphabetically this year. (I don’t know why- it’s just different!) But today I read 1 Timothy.

I thought about Paul’s life and the struggles he faced. Although they can’t really be compared with my own because they are in no way similar, he just kept going. Most of his letters were written from confinement. He had no idea that these letters to encourage the church would later be “canonized” and preserved as part of the Bible we use every day. He was just trying to protect the baby church from craziness! He wanted to strengthen them and encourage them in The Way. Yet we still draw strength from his words today.

He did not know how much I would need I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  He had no clue how many times I would quote and rest in the words he penned so long ago:  But my God will supply all of your needs according to His riches in glory.

Those are the two things that I am meditating on today as we get back to the daily grind…the nitty gritty of restoration! …because I still believe…

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I Know He Carries Me

Well today is a big day as I get to get out for a few hours. A few days ago I decided that I would take steps to do some things that I enjoy. Today I go to Arkansas to be on the radio with my friends. I am looking forward to the time of ministry and also fellowship. And just a few hours out will do wonders I am sure.

Planning for an over night outing can be quite laborious. I have to get several sets of people lined up to stay with Chris. They have to be familiar with his schedule and care. My daughter and son-in-law are my heroes! They seem to always end up with the longest slot – and never complain. This time one person canceled last-minute. That is very frustrating to me…it makes it so difficult for me to decide to try to do it again. It’s a difficult task at best but then when situations come up like this it is – more than frustrating. I really don’t want to be a strain on someone. ANd when my break costs others it just doesn’t seem worth it!

I do have a day outing planned for early next month. I signed up for my first 10K! Yeah! And then I’m taking the rest of the day to go spend in a nature center. They have some very nice little trails to get out and experience nature. I am looking forward to that too!

Today I am just “okay”. I can’t really figure out a better word for it. Maybe it’s simply “peace”. I am neither troubled nor ecstatic. I’m just okay! That’s not a bad place to be I don’t think. I am not complacent – that does not exist in my world! I’m just good. The Lord has returned my strength (His strength) to me and continues to carry me through. He is so faithful!

I’ve been reading Psalm 29 again. I taught that passage several years ago but it is still so ringing out in my spirit. The first verse says that we are to give Him all our strength (which isn’t much really); and the last verse says He gives us His strength. Not a fair trade if you ask me! He’s getting the short end of the stick for sure!

But I know that when I relax and let Him carry me and keep myself in the word- He gives His strength. It’s something I really do not have words to explain – He just puts it in me and I can go another day. It certainly isn’t something I can muster up on my own…I know He carries me…so I just relax in His arms today and enjoy the ride.

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We Only Have One Today…

We just got back from our first walk over to Hastings. Chris did a lot better this time so maybe he’s getting used to it. He was very alert and looked around until he got too sleepy. It’s just so challenging to get him up, dressed and then the walk over on the substandard sidewalks. (where there are any) Then shop around and come back to put him to bed so he can sleep! But it’s worth it to see him perk up so!

As we were cutting across the parking lot to head back to the apartment I was thinking about how much better he was doing today. Who knows why – maybe he’s too tired to care, simply more relaxed or really getting used to the little trip. But I realized we just have to work with what we are handed each day. But that’s not a complacent, lay back and take it sort of thing. We are not in control of everything! And we must deal with the things that come our way or get handed to us each day. But we can take what we have and do the best we can with it. We can achieve the best possible outcome working with what we have been given.

Yesterday a local pastor’s family got one of those make-your-blood-run-cold drop-to-your-knees-in-anguish calls like we did a couple years ago. Only the pastor suffered severe head trauma. He was mediflighted from the scene but he did not survive the wreck. That family didn’t even see it coming – just like we didn’t. We really do not know what might come about in a day and not one day should be taken for granted. EAch day we must do the best we can with what we have.

We can cherish our loved ones, hug them one more time. Take that extra minute on the phone or sit down and eat a meal. You never know what a day may bring.

When Chris was a teenager and was playing in the bands he would come in at like 2 in the morning and fall sit down on the foot of my bed and we would talk. Never did I ask him, “Did you not see I was sleeping?” I valued the fact that I had a teenage son who wanted to talk and I didn’t care what time of day or night it occured! I would love to be able to talk all night to him one more time! People are worth it –

So value today. Value your kids, family and loved ones. Enjoy today and make the most of it…you just never know. But I am resolved to make the best day out of each one I have. That’s all we can do anyway = the best with what we’ve got! Jesus didn’t waste any time while He was here in time. He spent time with the crowds, the disciples and others. He didn’t turn them away because He was tired or “done ministering” for the day! The investment in people is well worth the effort.

We cannot spend our time and energy worrying about today or tomorrow. We are given this moment to make a difference. He will direct our steps. We need not worry but rest in Him.

Trust in the Lord and do good

dwell in the land and cultivate faithfullness.

Delight yourself in the Lordand He will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord,

trust also in Him and He will do it.

He will bring forth your righteousness as the light

and your judgment as the noonday.

Rest in the Lord and wait patienlty for Him

Do not fret because of him who propers in his way

beacuase of the man who carries out wicked schemes.

Cease from anger and forsake wrath;

Do not fret it leads only to evildoing.

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The Comforter

Since the weather has gotten pretty and I could get out to run once again it seems the fog has lifted! I can’t really explain it but as long as I keep running I do pretty good and I feel a lot better. Now I just need to get a handle back on eating once again. I terribly overeat and I’m not making the best choices! I have made up my mind to begin to do better though. I even know why I am making so many mistakes. Food tastes good and in my little world somehow eating something flavorful brings a measure of comfort – or just feels good. So I eat… But I think I’ve turned the corner on that one.. hope so anyway.

Yesterday I took Chris outside. My goal was to walk him over to Hastings and back without going in. I just wanted him to get used to the little walk. He gets very upset. But I think that’s normal because you’ve got tons of new sounds, sights and smells and he can go into overload pretty easily with all that! REally once we get off the sidewalk and up by the shops he does okay.

I got him almost to Hastings and realized there’s a music store next to it. I always talk to him about all sorts of things when we are walking so I told him we’d go in one day. Then I decided to take him on in to see what his reaction would be. He sat up and began staring at all the instruments! I don’t know when I’ve seen anything wake him up like that! He just stared at the cymbal display and drum sets.

It was very emotional for me. On one hand I was excited that I found something so stimulating for him. But inside I just wanted to cry because of who he was and all that’s been lost. I bought him a practice pad and he actually struck it with a drum stick! But it hurts way down inside to know of all he’s done and that it’s all gone…

All I can do is rely on Holy Spirit to bring comfort. I still grieve the loss and do not know how to get past it. I rejoice with each step of progress but the past nags away at my heart and mind. I try to keep comforting scriptures on my mind for quick recall when it tries to get me down. I am still wandering around Psalm 121 that myhelp comes from the Lord. And so today once I again I must simply rest in Him and allow Holy Spirit to encompass me with comfort and peace. (He sure has a big job to do!)

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