Tuesday, June 27, 2017

My Hyper Workaholic Husband

I have a husband who is a hyper workaholic. He's the kind of guy that never stops doing stuff. 


I think if he could get away with doing things in his sleep, he would. It's a quality that can be both a great blessing and a great curse. Allow me to explain.

He gets up at the crack of dark to go to work. When he's not doing overtime, he usually winds up running errands for our church, or working on a church-related project. Sometimes he'll come home on the early side of late and fix something in the house that needs fixing, or he'll decide to make dinner for us (he loves to cook and absolutely needs to create something foodish at least twice a week to stay sane), turning my once-clean kitchen into a flour-ensconced war zone. Sometimes he promises to help someone or make them a special dessert. Only when the cakes have cooled or the desserts are chilling in the fridge does he finally settle down for bed, which is usually after I'm already asleep.

Even when he had his accident over four years ago, he didn't stop for long. The man had third degree burns on thirty-five percent of his body, and came home eighteen days later with skin grafts, a swatch of pig skin with three hundred staples in his mid-section, and strict orders to not do anything but his exercises. Did this stop him? Nope. He was practically vibrating in his lounge chair, and finally came up to me all hunched over because of the staples and said "You gotta give me something to do!"

He hasn't stopped since.

His doctor (and practically everyone else) told him he needs a break, and must take time off to recharge. So we went to an off-grid cabin in Maine for a week. I'd prepared all of the food ahead of time so all we needed to do was heat it over the fire or bake it. No fuss, no mess. Just rest. 

The first few days he actually slowed down enough to relax. But then he started going on walks, finding things to do like gather wood, chop wood, and find places to drive to so that we could walk around. He needed to do something. Anything. 
Then God gave me an epiphany. We bought coloring books, crayons, and colored pencils with a sharpener. He spent the next three days coloring! It was the only time in our twenty years of marriage I'd ever seen him busy and still at the same time!

You'd think all of this self-discovery and rest would put his mind into a lower gear. At least I did. But when we came home, he happily dove right back into the chaos- in fact, he was even busier than he was before we left for Maine!

He did three straight weeks of overtime. We're talking fourteen to sixteen hour days, five days a week. The weekends were used to play catch-up with church needs (he's a deacon and also the church building manager), so I haven't seen much of him for the past month or so. if this keeps up, I might have to start scheduling appointments to see him!

My husband is a powerhouse for God. He works for Him, does ministry for Him, and expects nothing in return. He's a giver to the point of sacrificing his precious time and energy to help someone in need. People can call day or night- he will be there for them. He's a rare and precious man. He's also as hyper as an over-caffeinated chipmunk! 

I wish I had half of his energy. Only God could have a man do as much as he does, and still have the strength to breathe! I still marvel at all God has done with my husband.

I wish that there was a way to infuse each other, so he would rest more and I would have more energy. The only way I'll get him to stay still at this point is if I duct tape his butt in bed! 

hmm...Another epiphany? I wonder how much duct tape I'll need?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Which Way Are You Facing?

Epiphanies can hit you at the oddest times. This one happened while I was in church during a sermon.

The pastor was talking about getting closer to God and keeping your eyes on Him, and since I'm a literal thinker, I kept picturing myself nose to nose with the Almighty. Can't get much closer than that, can we? 

But then it hit me; all I had to do was turn around to be the furthest away from God. One simple act with a plethora of consequences! He's right there with you, but you can't see Him- all you have to do to get as close as possible is turn around.


How many times have I walked around looking for God, only to never see Him? How many times did I turn my eyes away from Him to see some shiny sin-filled bauble dangling in my peripheral vision? And how many times did I refuse to turn around because the bauble seems like the right thing to focus on or (let's be honest here), I didn't want to focus on anything else that might tear me away from the sparkle?

I can tell you this- every time I turned my eyes from God I got into trouble. Every. Single. Time. So why do I still do it? Because baubles are shiny and we humans like shiny things. It's so much easier for us to stare at a glittering object than focus on our work- just ask any school student or desk jockey. Shiny catches the eye and seems more interesting!

Just look up a series of YouTube videos called 'The Most Satisfying' and you'll know exactly what I mean. I could stare for hours at that stuff. 

I'm so glad God is patient and is willing to stick with us, waiting until we turn around to see Him. It's almost like He wants to yell 'Surprise! I've been here the whole time! Aren't you glad to see Me?" 

We are both the closest to God and the furthest from God, depending on which way we're facing. So the big question is...which way are you facing?

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Being Crickety

It's not easy losing some of your mobility- even if it's only temporary. At least I hope it's temporary! But with every trial there's a life lesson- sometimes more than one. I've learned to laugh about my creakiness, and I want to share a few things that creaky life has taught me.

One lesson about creakiness is similar to child-rearing; what used to take me five minutes now takes me at least fifteen.  Alas, the pendulum has started swinging the other direction. My kids are now helping me to get over obstacles instead of the other way around!

I've also noticed a change in my decision-making skills because of my temporary lack of mobility. 

Stores are no longer chosen by their sales flyers, but by how many benches they have available throughout the store.

Big stores must have motorized carts. At first I was daunted by using them, but now it's a lot of fun- especially when I can cruise around the store announcing 'Watch the tram car please!' (anyone who has been down on the shore boardwalk knows what I'm talking about!)

Little stores must have chairs or wheelchair carts.

Weight loss is no longer about attractiveness or fashions, but about increasing functionality.

Dinners have become more simple, usually involving the crockpot. Stove-top cooking has become a rare beast, unless it's a recipe for 'make in one pan and simmer'. Casseroles are also in the mix, as long as I can cut the veggies and meat sitting down at the kitchen table.

Not only do I check bathroom stalls for toilet paper, but now I'm looking for that helpful little ballerina bar bolted to the wall just in case the toilet sits too low. Like I wasn't already anxious enough by public restrooms. Sheesh.

Swimming isn't for play anymore- it's for exercise.

Exercise DVDs used to be no good because I never used them. Now they're no good because I can't use them.

I can't catch the kids doing something sneaky anymore because the knee pops betray my former ninja stealth. (and the kids love catching me trying to sneak up on them!)

The cats always know I'm home before I even take out the house keys due to cane thumping and knee popping.

When I go for a walk, kids keep running up to me asking if I have bubble wrap. 

No one likes being crickety, but I'm going to make the best of it until it either goes away (read: get rid of it), or I find better ways to deal with it. In the meantime, I'll be snap, crackle, and popping my way around stores and the house, doing what God tells me to do- and if you hear the sound of Rice Krispies, take a look around- I might just be behind you!

Monday, June 5, 2017

How God Grows Us

Ever feel that if just one more thing went wrong, you'd go stark raving bonkers?

Me neither...not

I'd been feeling overwhelmed lately and asked my buddies on Facebook for some encouragement. I wasn't disappointed. In fact, I got a private message from a Christian friend, asking what it was I needed encouragement for, so she could pray for me. It's friends like these I wish lived closer to home.

I told her my troubles and how I felt. She told me feelings are fleeting and temporary things, and God is using these troubles to grow me as a Christian. Before I could stop myself, I blurted,
'Egad woman- I know He's trying to grow me, but does He have to add so much manure?!?'

And she laughed

Her laugh made me feel a little better. And after talking and praying with her. the bad feelings did fleet...er...flee. The black cloud wasn't entirely removed, but at least I could see the silver lining. 

When I'm in one of those 'one-straw-before-the-back-broken-camel' moments, I used to hide myself away from people and sulk, wallowing in misery until I pulled myself out of the muck of my emotional tar-pit. Now I force myself to talk with others and ask for help, as hard as that is. I try not to complain to the world (though that sometimes happens), but instead find a friend on the phone or online that is willing to hear my troubles. 
Though the issues and that overwhelming feeling don't always go away completely, talking them out with a friend makes me feel like I can handle things once more. Their prayers and willingness to listen infuse me with God's strength to move forward. What a blessing that is!

God piles on the manure on occasion, but He also provides a means to gain strength through Him- He wants us to talk to fellow Christians to gain perspective, gain composure, and maybe even laugh a little in the process. He never meant us to go it alone in our own strength. As my friend encouraged me, I'd like to encourage you if you're in the same proverbial manure pile.

Don't hide yourself from others. Find a Christian friend and talk to them. 
Look for friends that don't just agree with you, but are also willing to be honest when they don't and tell you in a gentle way.
Know that in all things, God has a plan and this is a temporary feeling. It will pass.
Pray and talk to God and ask for strength, endurance, and to send Encouragers. 

And when the trial is over and you've done a little growing, be an Encourager to someone else. You never know what kind of hidden blessings He has in store for you!