Tag Archives: health

Better than ‘Old’

If it’s supposed to be resting, it’s running;
If it’s supposed to be running, it’s plugged.
I’m tellin’ y’all the truth, here –
This ol’ body o’mine’s got me bugged! Continue reading Better than ‘Old’

2013 May-June: Ball’s Rolling

For an overview of the most recent few weeks (and one reason there haven’t been any blog posts), see the article on Sim Games: A Metaphor.  I’m starting to climb out of the dangerous hole I’d wandered into, and with a low-cardio high-ministry week coming up, I should be in fine shape soon.  At least, that’s what I’m telling myself and anyone else who asks.

And yes, it’s getting past time to wiki-fy this blog.

We did a Deaf Camp in Grand Junction, MI, and I met some more kindred spirits (yes, they each have their own bodies, though one is a clown who shares a body with her human – it works that way).  I can report that JJ (my clown) and I, and our team from Silent Blessings / Dr Wonder’s Workshop, presented the gospel clearly to about a dozen families in a fun and memorable way.

One family was there for only a day, the day the clowns were there.  This family touched chords in each of us, and each of us in turn touched a member of that family.  We spoke at length, giving encouragement for the parental advocacy battle, Father to Father, Mom to Mom….and the subject of discussion had some one-on-one time with a real live clown who spoke his language and didn’t mind getting dirty.  “Will you go to the beach with us?”  “No, time for me to go somewhere else.” “Please?”… in my search for my fellow clown, I ended up at the beach, much to the little guy’s delight.  Something whispered that the whole event was orchestrated to bring God’s love and some much needed encouragement to that family.  God’s been known to do such things.

Next up, a marathon week at my pay-job, and a trip to KY for my family reunion.  While there, I made some progress in honing my “elevator presentation” for both Silent Blessings and Stained Glass.  (the “Elevator Presentation” is a networking device, a challenge to clearly present a complete package of information in the amount of ‘face time’ you have during an elevator trip between floors.)  I also spent some time at the Silent Blessings office, and got a little farther into the communication flow between Dr Wonder’s Workshop and fans of the show.

The following week was supposed to include a church homecoming in Columbus, OH – reference the ‘Sim‘ article for why I didn’t make it.  I did have a productive and encouraging meeting with someone who knows far more about ministry & missions & financing than I do.  (There’s an English idiom about ‘going off half cocked’…I’ve long known what it meant, but now I have a clearer understanding of it’s application:  a big explosion of concentrated energy, with no distance or power to penetrate.) We’re going to assemble a committee, and they’re going to add their energy and guidance, a longer barrel, if you will, to ensure that the target is actually reached effectively.   It’s infrastructure work, which is both critical and largely invisible.  As for the rest of my week, it was spent on Mom & Dad’s couch until I had to make the drive back home & resume my work schedule.

One private Bible study has resumed.  We’ve finally wrapped up the books of the Kings, and now we’re in the first book of Chronicles (or, the book of First Chronicles).  This will take us, from another perspective, through the life of the nation of Israel, starting with genealogies (and difficult names).  If you’re in the same place, don’t skip too quickly through the first chapters, because some of those names include parenthetical remarks about the people they belong to, giving hints that will be important in the longer stories told later.

Today, I enjoyed a relaxing, laugh-infused picnic with my deaf friends and others from the area I hadn’t met before.  I spoke with another set of parents who are finding themselves in the aforementioned advocacy battle with the schooling and professional systems in place.   I told a few people about Dr Wonder’s Workshop, handed out a few business cards, and lost a watermelon eating contest.

Next on the agenda is a VBS (Vacation Bible School) in Warsaw, IN, using the Dr Wonder’s Workshop materials and some of the lessons learned at camp.  We’re expecting 20 or so deaf kids among 70 or so attending.  That would be fabulous!!   Tune in to the next ministry report article to see how it went (but pray for us while it’s still underway).

The Prayer List:
— energy, for all of us
— families that attended Deaf Camp in Michigan
— the committee of people God will assemble for this missionary
— long distance Bible Study (via Skype)
— deaf people, and parents of deaf children, in our community
— Vacation Bible School in Warsaw
— wisdom, always wisdom 🙂

— a friend’s car that insists on dying when she needs it most
— a coworker who’s been to too many funerals this week
— our very own Deaf Olympian, heading out of country soon
— some medical billing and worker’s comp entanglement

Jesus knows the details 🙂

Sim Games – a metaphor for life

Many are familiar with the popular Sim (simulation) games, known by titles such as Farm Town, FarmVille, YoVille, Millsbury, Mafia Wars…   They have a basic pattern, granting ‘energy’ points at a rate of 1 per 5 minutes to a maximum determined by your level in the game.  A player expends these energy points at different rates depending on the task, and may earn ‘money’ credits which can be applied to upgrades, etc, etc…  If you’ve been active on Facebook for more than 3 weeks, you’ve at least been invited to participate, if not hooked, on one or more of the offerings.

Stay with me, we’re switching topics, but they’ll tie together soon…

Several people in my circles, including myself, have a variety of ailments that impact our physical health and real life energy levels.  We’ve just about got the medical encyclopedia covered, with Lupus, Fibromyalgia, MS, Cardiomyopathy, Rheumatoid Arthritis, PTSD,  chemical imbalance depression, and more.  Each of these are invisible to the uninformed eye, but can wreak havoc with little or no notice.  We may be inexplicably exhausted after apparently no greater activity than socializing with friends or sitting behind a desk for 8 hours.

Here’s where the topics tie together…  I was once asked to clarify the impact of my condition, explaining it quickly to a group of young college students.  I went for the fastest shortcut I could find, energy points in sim games, and they understood immediately.  I’ve since been asked by friends to help explain why they may need down time, even away from loved ones.  This is the best I’ve got.

In the sim games, once you’ve picked & planted corn or played parlor checkers with your friends until your energy points are down to zero, you are left with three choices:  Spend electronic money credits to get electronic decorations, spend real legal tender money to buy more energy points, or step out of the game for a period of time while your energy points regenerate per schedule.    In real life, you may be able to spend legal tender money on hiring help, or grab a sugar/caffeine buzz, but the reality is, once the body has hit its limit, you’re down until you can rest & regenerate.  There’s no option but to step out of the game temporarily.  Continuing to push because you’re not dead yet can be, in some cases, deadly.

So, if your friend or loved one says “I need to stop for a while”, take their word for it.  Trying to explain the above to people who haven’t experienced medical fatigue just uses up more energy points, and for us, those are a premium.

Laugh or Cry? I Choose Laughter

‘Do not get pinned under the bike!’

This was my first thought as I felt the motorcycle under me start to slide sideways in the gravel.  There would be no pulling out of this one, only damage control.  The next thought, as I kicked off the seat to get clear and took a Superman dive toward the road, was ‘stand up so they know you’re alright’, followed immediately by ‘sit down, you’re not alright’.

It wasn’t the first, nor last time I had dropped my entire frame on the two square inches of one kneecap, but it has been the only time I planted rocks in my elbow.  Both hurt significantly.  Thankfully, a nurse who lived nearby had just arrived at the same intersection, saw the accident, and went back to her house for an ice wrap.  She also called the authorities, and I got a $170 ticket for ‘failure to control vehicle’, on a temporary license, on Father’s day, on a bum knee.  There were two things the officer wasn’t permitted to do – she couldn’t waive the ticket, since an accident had been reported, and she couldn’t transport me to the hospital – so I rode on the back of Dad’s bike with my swollen leg straight out.

In the ER, the nurse did her job – scrubbing my open elbow to remove gravel & dirt that got planted almost to the bone.  I had but two choices sitting there, my leg throbbing & elbow screaming…  I could cry, or I could laugh.  Much to my mom’s frustration, I chose laughter, and every Bill Cosby joke I could think of.  Mom was concerned that they wouldn’t take my injuries seriously enough, I was concerned that allowing myself to whimper & flinch would cause the scrubbing to drag out more.  Clearly, I lived through it, and still have the marks to prove that the gravel wreck didn’t beat me.  It has, however, kept me from going after my motorcycle license again, so far.

I have taken the same perspective with most of my physical injuries, and several of my heartbreaks.  I remember walking into the living room after another bout with gravel, asking my grandmother if she “had something for a little girl who hurt her finger” – a fingernail ripped out from the second cuticle.  A few years later, the same finger was closed in a car door, the nail was torn out again, and I was focused on getting to the bathroom, wondering why I couldn’t take more than a step from the car.  They called it a “high resistance to pain” in my childhood, a dangerous blessing for the comparatively few who have it.  Mix that with a determination not to make too much of a less-than-deadly situation, and you have a person who recites Bill Cosby jokes while having rocks scrubbed out of an elbow.

You also have someone who quietly manages less obvious issues with a rehearsed smile and genuine, though somewhat distracted, concern for others – especially when they’re showing that same, familiar, rehearsed smile.  When the situation reaches crisis level, people such as myself finally speak up, usually to the great surprise of most, since there doesn’t tend to be a warning or lead-in.  We put our best management skills to the task, focus on damage control, stand up so everyone knows we’re alright, and sometimes we must quickly sit again.  Reality, after all, tends to be more determined than we are. However, this does not mean that it always wins.

Things you need to know, in case you need to know

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I know Jesus promised my soul to keep.
If I should leave Earth before I awake,
This list has been written for my families’ sake.

On my wedding day:

  • a pastel rainbow bouquet, it means “God keeps His promises”, and has long been my bridal theme
  • those who have observed know the highest honor is a single white rose, no need to throw money at other flowers (consider taking flowers to a nursing home)
  • a white blouse from my closet – I’ll get my fancy dress when I get to the honeymoon
  • JJ’s outfit will serve as bridesmaid, someone will need to explain to MJT that she’s leaving with me – seriously, I’ve thought about it, and I believe it should be there, mom knows why
  • let my feet be free – you know how I am about shoes and tucked-in blankets
  • light makeup in shades of brown – save the clown look for the uniform
  • there should be two receptions, one North, one South, and both languages covered in both places
  • fill the hall with happy memories – and you should add what you find in the blogs
  • most of the music is in my car – especially GVB and Selah, and the Homecoming recording of Going Home – play the good stuff, it’s a celebration, and I’ll be enjoying my reception enthusiastically
  • have the Mark Mitchum videos handy, so that everyone can share in the music
  • like it or not, call the family of the guy in TN – his family is dear to me, all of them
  • find the young man who was once a child in my home – he is still dear to me
  • find the cousin that my friend knows – she’s a part of my family, and we’ve stayed in touch somewhat
  • find the people of Cols SW – especially RS and D3, Elf knows them
  • find the tech guy, and have him find my favorite submariner and the grumpy guru
  • find my neighbor, she’ll be trying to find me – her friendship has been a blessing, and I promise I’ll try some of that cultural food – she’ll just have to bring it to me – make sure she knows how
When it’s time for the toasts (or roasts):
  • remind everyone that I’d like to hang out with them in 300 years, and how Jesus has made that possible
  • there isn’t room enough to say how each person has been so precious to me, hopefully I got the message across in person, or we can discuss it in a century or two
  • my kids‘ – you have truly given me the joys (and jolts) of virtual motherhood – remember what I tried to teach you, that you can always run to Jesus, no matter when, no matter what, no matter why – don’t let the world convince you otherwise
  • my pals at BC – you have been an awesome blessing in tough seasons – thanks ladies, it has meant a lot
  • my brother & sisters out west – I promise I’ll share a full shot with you, you just have to bring it to me – I’ll watch for you, and you know I mean it
  • my church families, you have enriched my life in countless ways, whether over many years or few – thank you
  • my nieces – how I wish I could have watched more closely as you grew up… I’m proud of the young ladies you’ve become – your mama has done well – we’ll pull the perfect prank on her in a few hundred years, ‘k?
  • PM, LJ, LD, BKG – there are no words…your friendships have been awesome to me, the blessings can’t be counted, but a lot of them haven’t been forgotten – thank you
  • Mom, Dad – yeah, forget it, you’re not hearing this anyway… I love you, y’know….immeasurably. Thanks for choosing life – however interesting it’s been (and it has been), I got to live it, which is more than millions can say. I want to have all those unfinished conversations in a few hundred years – I’ll watch for you, and you know I mean it
  • Wallers – will I see you at the last Family Reunion?
  • take me to Grandpa, I’ll stay with him, and y’all can visit us
  • go minimal on the carriage, it’s the honeymoon that counts
When the packages get unwrapped:
  • the files & papers are an unruly mess, but I’ve been a little more careful with the ones for financial planning – the uncle holds some, the money guy holds some, and the last is with NAC…
  • the Ohio document is hopefully still in force, since it hasn’t been changed or updated
  • I owe Discover, Kroger Visa, and Great Lakes, holder of the college notes
  • the rest of my accounts & pwds are on a strangely named file in my laptop – you’ll need some help from the tech guy to figure them out
  • the Bible picture over my lingerie cabinet goes back to my nieces’ mother, she’ll take care of it from there
  • when my youngest niece turns 15, get her a True Images Bible, if it’s still the one on being God’s precious daughter – I’m still obsessive about fair & equitable