Monday, January 28, 2008

Time flies and blessings flow...

After a very pleasant drive from Mississippi, I am once again in Kentucky. For the next month, I will have the great pleasure of taking care of three of my precious grandsons. Aside from much colder weather than we were having in Mississippi, my transition to Kentucky living has been a smooth one.

While I'm here, both Hunter and Cannon will have birthdays; Hunter turns 5 and Cannon will be a year old. It doesn't seem possible that twelve months have passed since I was here at this time last year, helping out Dennae when she was ordered to complete bedrest by her doctor. On February 21st, Cannon was born. And here we are, one year later. Time does certainly fly, but I've found that it does that whether or not you're having a good time! Fortunately for me, and thanks to the Good Lord, I have been having a good time. My life is filled with one blessing after another and the chance to be with three of my four grandchildren is wonderful!

Now if I could just find a way to get the fourth one down here!

Until the next time...

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Turnabout

What a difference a day makes! Yesterday I was down and out because I'd decided I couldn't provide daycare for my three grandchildren. I reversed that decision last night and today I'm feeling good about it. I'll still have to be careful not to overextend myself--this body of mine is still rebelling against anything remotely "glutenified"--but as this is a lifelong affliction, I'll have to learn to live with it under any and all circumstances. And this won't be the two-month-long situation that I first envisioned. I have doctor's appointments and other obligations here at home to bring me back after a month, but at least I'll be doing what I can.

I'm praying that my decision is the best for everyone concerned. While I'll miss my daughter and son-in-law with whom I live, and my brand new baby kitty, Maple (along with our other pets), I'm looking forward to the opportunity to spend unlimited time with my grandsons and to make a lasting impression on them. Cannon, the youngest of this particular family (I have yet another lovable grandson, Tyler, who is only five months old), is going to be a year old on February 21st. He's getting ready to take his first steps and I want to be on-hand when he does.

I was blessed to be able to spend ample time with both Dustin and Hunter when they were babies. In fact, we lived under the same roof for a good share of their first years. That hasn't been the case with Cannon and although I know that actually living with your grandchildren is not a benefit that most grandparents have, I would like to have that same bonding experience with the youngest of the three boys. I want to be a positive influence in his life and starting when he's young will help me to do that. I firmly believe that grandparenting can be (and often is) done very well long-distance, but if I have a chance to spend time with him during his formative months, well, so much the better.

I'm trusting, as always, that the Lord will guide my steps and that I'm doing what is best for not only my grandsons, but for my children and me, as well. Juggling responsibilities, good intentions, realistic expectations, and distance is not easy. Throw in the desire to be a good grandparent and a helpful parent, and it really gets complicated.

Until the next time...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Down and out...

I was very sad today. I had to tell my youngest daughter I couldn't go to Kentucky to help out with childcare for my three beloved grandsons for the next couple of months. Oh, I had a good reason--I'm so sick I can barely get my head off the pillow and I can blame that on accidentally "glutening" myself a day or so by eating soup in a restaurant. Being a newbie to this Celiac stuff, I didn't take the proper precautions against eating even the tinest amount of gluten--or food that could have gluten in it. I gambled and lost.

What does that have to do with not being able to babysit for the next couple of months? Just that I can't trust my body not to betray me again and nobody needs a grandma hanging around who's so sick she can't do what she's there to do in the first place. If there's one thing I know I can do, without a shadow of a doubt, it's that I can be a wonderful grandma to my grandsons. But I can't be wonderful if I feel cruddy. I can't help others if I can't help myself. I can't be Wonder Woman when I'm busy wondering what's making me sick this time.

That's a problem with me--trying to be Wonder Woman. I spent so many years promising myself that I would be a "hands on" grandma when my grandchildren came along (and up to this point, I've done just that) that I didn't allow any margin for error, or distance, or illness. I didn't count on being human. I thought I could do it all. I can't. I thought I could put aside my aches and pains, postpone my doctors' appointments, or take my meds and just not think about my ailments without serious repercussions. I'm slowly learning just how wrong I was.

Of course, my daughter understands completely and the boys don't even know their grandma let them down. Perhaps it's better this way. Maybe spending that length of time with them when I was feeling sick and miserable would put a different spin on their view of Grandma.

I think maybe God knows a lot more about me than He's letting on. I need to listen more and plan less. I need to ask for His guidance instead of relying on my desires. I need to take care of myself before I can take care of anyone else.

But it still made me sad.

Until the next time...

Monday, January 21, 2008

Waiting it out...

I have had a cold now for a good two weeks. This isn't just your run-of-the-mill-sniffles type cold; no, this is a box-of-tissues-a-day cold. This is a "how on earth can my head produce so much gunk in such a short period of time" cold. This one has got me down.

I have a variety of things wrong with me, but because they're not life-threatening and don't cramp my style at all (thank goodness my style isn't Olympic hurtling or Mt. Everest-climbing), for the most part, I can ignore them. I take my meds, they do their job, and everyone's happy--particularly the drug companies. But this cold is different. Nothing I do for it puts a dent in its super-human ability to produce massive amounts of fluids. All I can do is stem their flow and wait it out.

Sometimes life is like that. We can't stop the dam from breaking, but we can slow it down and maybe channel its flow to a better place. We can't obliterate crime, but we can make sure we don't participate in it and take precautions to prevent our being victims. We can't stop sin from ruling our world, but we can take refuse to let it rule us and take heart that it's a temporary reign, that a sinless, disease-free, crime-free eternity awaits those of us who believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.

It's comforting to know that in Heaven, I won't have this cold, no matter how long it seems to be taking to pass. Sometimes I think the best part about suffering inconveniences is that we feel so darned good when they're behind us. If that's the case, I'm looking forward to feeling downright euphoric in a few days!

Until the next time...

Friday, January 18, 2008

Special delivery

I am so incredibly blessed! The postman just delivered a package to me--a very special one from my sister. Earlier this week she mentioned she had sent me a "mid-winter pick-me-up" and did she ever!

When I opened it, I discovered an adorable pair of orange slipper socks with colorful flowers and sparkly beaded centers, the perfect desk calender (Book Lover's Calendar for 2008), a copy of David Baldacci's Wish You Well (she knows how I love his writing), a tube of my very favorite (and very special) Sally Hansen peppermint foot creme, and a delicious-smelling Village Candle. (Well, I'm sure it smells delicious, although at the moment I can't smell a thing. But anything called "Angel Kisses" has to smell heavenly, doesn't it?!) And to top it all off, she sent me four pocket-packs of tissue. Now that might sound odd, but Shelley knows my constant need for tissues--at my bedside, in my bathroom, on my desk, around the house, and especially in my purse. I never have enough. She couldn't have sent anything more practical or useful or desired, for that matter.

And how does she do it? How does she know exactly what I need, what will comfort me, amuse me, inspire me, be useful to me? Because she loves me and she listens. She really and truly listens. She has amazed me time and again with her ability to give me things I thought no one knew I wanted but me. She doesn't shrug her shoulders and sigh, "I just don't know what to get her anymore." No, she constantly comes up with delightful gifts--either unexpectedly, like this one, or at Christmases or birthdays, or "just because." Shel astounds me with the way she shows me that she loves me, with the way she respects my needs and my wants and recognizes even those little things I know I don't need or deserve, but just would love to have.

Shelley is of the "use it up and get some more" school. No setting things up on a shelf because they're too pretty to use or to burn or scribble on or fill up with notes and ideas. Nope, she believes things should be enjoyed for what they are and when they're all gone--well, there are plenty more where they came from. She lives every moment of her life with a zest that few people can match. She appreciates the sights and sounds and smells and textures of all things. She delights in serving her family and guests delicious meals and then showering them with comfort and luxury and a feeling that you're the most special person in the whole wide world.

That's a gift--not only a gift that God has bestowed upon Shelley, but one that she uses freely to make others feel loved, appreciated and thought of. And all that love and thoughtfulness was tucked into my box today, surrounding all my wonderful gifts. I wonder if the mailman had any idea just what a special package he was delivering?

Until the next time...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Hard Lesson Learned

After settling back into writer mode after my foray to the north to visit my daughter, her husband and the three young'uns, I found myself in a dilemma. A bad one. My trusty laptop, the machine I carry with me everywhere--Florida, Michigan, Alaska, Kentucky, Mississipppi--has died. I have a nice new one now, thanks to the knowledge and generosity of my daughter and son-in-law, and I love it. But I need some things that are still encased in the hard drive of my old computer and it simply refuses to boot up. Although I have those documents (supposedly) on a thumb drive, I can't seem to get it to open up and transfer to the new computer. So I'm resigned to being plagued with computer problems until my old one is somehow cured long enough for me to retrieve my things or someone figures out what to do with this reluctant thumb drive. That could be tomorrow or it could be five years from now. Let's hope it's somewhere between those two extremes.

I learned a very valuable lesson, though. I need to back up absolutely everything I write--every single day. I've heard the warnings, commiserated with those who have had similar problems, and thought about what would happen if that fate befell me... well, it has. And just thinking about backing up documents isn't good enough. I have to do it. Often.

Not all is lost, though. I know there's someone out there who can tease that information out of my laptop and I do have the majority of my work safely settled onto the hard drive of my new machine, thanks to a CD I burned a few months ago. If anyone reads this, I hope my disaster will serve not only as a hard lesson for me, but as a warning for others.

Until the next time...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Road trip...

The new year has been good to me so far. I returned a couple of days ago from a short visit to Kentucky for the purpose of delivering the bunkbeds and dresser that we bought for Dustin, Hunter and Cannon (and, of course, for spending time with my family). Those beds are now set up and being used by two very grateful and excited little boys. Their baby brother will no doubt have some fun with them when he gets a little older. Right now, his world revolves around Mommy and Daddy and his brothers--new bunkbeds and a boring new dresser in the bedroom he shares with Dustin and Hunter are of no consequence to a ten-month-old!

What made this visit a bit different from several other visits I've made to Kentucky from Mississippi was that I made the trip alone. Darice wasn't able to accompany me this time (the new term at Mississippi State started), so the driving was entirely up to me. Now I've driven many, many miles during my lifetime. I've made numerous solo trips over the years and despite the long list of things that can go wrong, the Lord has blessed me every time with a safe ride. The weather may not have been ideal, the traffic might have been busier than I would like, I may have gotten lost or forgotten to buy gas until it was a downright emergency, but all in all, I've emerged unscathed from my miles on the road alone.

This trip was no different. Despite being a bit leery at the outset, my confidence rose with each passing mile. I had forgotten just how much fun a road trip can be! The weather on the way up was fantastic--sunny skies, dry roads, lighter-than-expected traffic. The return trip was overcast and dreary, but despite dire predictions of nasty storms for the entire length of my journey, I didn't encounter any. (They hit later that night.) I listened to (and sang along with) the radio, watched the passing scenery, and kept a close eye on my map. I made the necessary bathroom stops and picked up a cup of coffee or iced tea once in a while and still made good time. Before I knew it, I was at my destination.

But I know I wasn't really traveling alone. I may not have had another person sitting in the passenger seat, but I know I had divine company in the form of ministering angels and the Holy Spirit Himself. I know just as sure as I'm sitting at my computer this very moment that the Lord was with me as I drove up and back, just as He will be with anyone who asks for His presence.

Thank You, Lord, not only for a safe journey, but for riding along with me.

Until the next time...