Monday, April 26, 2010

Don't Stop in the Middle

Saturday morning I was weary from concern over a number of family related trials large and small. My son-in-law has been diagnosed with pneumonia and we are worried because the pain and fever are persisting longer than we'd expected. Grandson Daniel is teething and so neither he nor his tired Mama are resting well. And, when I'd taken Mom's coffee in that morning, I'd found her sitting on the floor beside her bed. She calmly said, "I can't figure out how to get up from here." Blessedly, son Jonathan was home for a visit, and he and my husband easily lifted Mom to her feet. What would I have done if they hadn't been here?

I headed upstairs to complete some Saturday morning chores, and stopped halfway up, sank down, and sat, leaning my head on the banister. More than just feeling tired, I was suffering a strength robbing, low level fear of what lies ahead. Midpoint of that climb to the upstairs portion of our home, I did not want to go up to face the chores ahead. This seemed symbolic of where I am on the time line of my life. I can't go back, I don't want to move forward; and quitting in the middle doesn't seem to be an option! I trudged on up the stairs.

Likewise, I must move forward in time.

This morning, I awoke to hear Mom on the monitor, telling the cat that she didn't think her bum knee would support her weight if she were to try to stand. I lay in bed, dreading this day in particular and the future in general, when an odd thing happened. Quotes from my book began coming to mind. Having recorded much of God's counsel to me in book form offers a unique opportunity to revisit lessons past. I always feel somewhat embarrassed to struggle valiantly against some problem only to hear the Lord say, "I've taught you about this before, don't you remember?"

The future is in God’s hands, and you can trust Him. No one but the Lord knows the future. Follow Him in your present and leave tomorrow in His hands (p.10).

Now, for just a little while, the Christian may endure suffering and grief, but we look forward to a future free from sorrow and pain. Despair is not the portion of those who hope in Christ (p. 39).

In every trial the Lord offers help for the present and hope for the future (p.179).

My peace of mind returned when I recognized that I did not have to worry about “What if …” I had only to remember Who is! (p. 206)

Common sense based upon the facts of the expected progression of Alzheimer’s disease will lead to despair. Faith based upon the reality of Jesus Christ offers hope (p. 10).

Scripture: “Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace” (Luke 1:78-79, NLT).

"I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me" (Philippians 3:12)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Quilting Confusion

Today my daughter, Melinda, and I drove to nearby Emporia, Kansas, where I was scheduled to be the guest speaker for the Lyon County Extension Units' "spring fling." The theme this year was, "Life Can Be a Picnic." Tables were decorated with red and white checked cloths, adorable little red buckets held trail mix, and a delicious brunch of quiche, muffins, and fruit was served. My talk went well, the audience was attentive, and much to my relief they laughed in all the right places (and in none of the wrong ones, as when the slides on my PowerPoint presentation stopped progressing as I wanted).

I sold a few books and then, lest I become too big headed about the whole experience, one of the ladies confided, "You know, we really thought you were your mother-in-law when we heard your name and that you were coming to speak today."

"Yes," chimed another, "Doesn't she make quilts?"

Well, yes, my mother-in-law, Irma Born, makes the loveliest quilts I've ever seen outside of a museum display. The connection (and confusion) between my book and my mother-in-law's quilts was soon explained. A third lady told me about the Alzheimer's Quilt Initiative. She had attended a showing of the quilts in the traveling display entitled "Alzheimer's: Forgetting Piece by Piece".

It turns out that most of the ladies understood who I am and the subject matter I would cover today because they had read the article our local paper printed after I did book signing last fall. But, a few of them know my mother-in-law, and had also heard the story about the traveling display of Alzheimer's quilts--thus, the confusion.

At the end of the day, no one seemed disappointed that I had no quilts to show, my PowerPoint was a hit, and I treasured the opportunity to hear and empathize with the many and varied stories the women shared about their own experiences with a loved one's dementia. There were a few tears of empathy and lots of laughter shared.

All of this seemed to affirm the closing line of my talk: "Even when life throws things at us that are certainly no picnic, there are still joy and laughter yet to be found...because where there is love, life really can be a picnic!"

But, next time I'm invited to be a guest speaker, I think I'll take along one or two of Irma's quilts just in case!