Posted in Personal Observations, Uncategorized

The Gratefulness of a Dog

We have a lovely rescue dog named Sandy who we adopted last Mother’s Day. She is an immigrant from Tijuana, Mexico. We don’t know a lot about her except:

  • She is terrified of loud noises. The second day we had her a broom fell over making a loud pop. Sandy immediately ran outside and hid under a bush. Bushes turned out to be her safe place. It took us a month or so to figure this out. There was much house searching before that.
  • She pretty much hates sweets and carbs. Exceptions will be made for pork rinds. My mom loves to sneak Sandy food. If it is any form of bread, we will find it hidden under a couch or behind the piano. I think Sandy doesn’t want to hurt my mom’s feelings and hides these things rather than directly refuse them. The exception being if Mom gives her sweets, the dog will take it and give it to my dad as if to say, “Hey, I’m trying to watch my figure, but Mom keeps giving me sweets!”

Sandy is the most honest dog we have ever owned. She doesn’t sneak around, if she finds socks on the floor she will give them to Dad. Every other dog we’ve had destroyed socks, ate the sweets and bread, and behaved, well, like a dog. Being half corgi and half golden retriever, she loves nothing more than herding us. Everyone gets a personal Sandy escort from room to room. Once you are at your destination, she will go back to whatever she was doing.

We all think that Sandy’s life was so hard before we got her that she just wants to be loved and is unwilling to do anything to jeopardize the wonderful home she is in now. There are days where her gratefulness puts me to shame. I’m not nearly as aware of the blessings I have around me: family, friends, God. I am working on being more aware of the good things that are in my life and not take them for granted. I owe it all to Sandy.

Posted in Pandemic

Kitchen Table Conversations

It’s early morning. I get out of bed to go to the bathroom, peeking out my bedroom door to see who is still asleep. Mom is sitting outside her bedroom door, dressed.

“Hi Mom. What ‘cha doing?”

“I’m waiting to go downstairs. They went to the store.”

“Who went to the store? Who’s they?”

“My husband.”

“Okay. Give me a minute and I’ll help you.”

I wake my husband and explain Mom wants to go downstairs. Ever since she missed the second stair at the bottom and fell, breaking her wrist, she is afraid to go down alone. Understandably. To get down she holds on to someone’s shoulder. I’d be no help if she loses her balance, so Harold helps her down the stairs and settles her at the kitchen table. I start the coffee as he goes back to bed.

Mom is very fretful right now, like most of us. She has dementia so every time she hears the news about COVID-19 is like the first time. Try as she might to absorb and retain what the news says, it just flies out of her mind. Last night we ordered Chinese. Harold went to pick it up and Mom spun into fearful prayers. When he got home she asked, “Did they wash their hands? Is this bag clean?”

This morning she voices her fear that people will be fighting in the aisles of the grocery store.

“No, Mom. Dad went early for the senior citizen shopping hour. I don’t think any of them have the energy to beat each other up. It’s okay.”

“You never know about people. They surprise you.”

Indeed they do. The door opens and our dog Sandy comes bouncing in followed by Dad.  I ask how shopping went.

“We stood in line for 15 minutes before the store opened. There still isn’t any paper goods. I wanted to make baked beans, but they were out of beans. I got lemons, butter, and squash. Oh, and ketchup and mayo. That’s it.”

Our grocery runs are surreal. We never know what items we will come back with from the list. When I came back from Wal-Mart the other day I was thrilled to have acquired our favorite bread, but I was only allowed one loaf. The farmer markets are considered an essential service in California so tomorrow we will hopefully have beautiful flowers, broccoli, fresh empanadas and sage honey to enjoy.

I awake in the middle of the night vibrating with anxiety. Mom’s days are filled with the same anxieties over and over anew. The whole world grapples with a cruel viral enemy. Yet as a people who believe in the saving power of Christ Jesus, we can agree with Charles Spurgeon who said:

Our sorrows are all, like ourselves, mortal. There are no immortal sorrows for immortal souls. They come, but blessed be God, they also go. Like birds of the air, they fly over our heads. But they cannot make their abode in our souls. We suffer today, but we shall rejoice tomorrow.

Posted in Personal Observations

Hello to the New Normal (Temporarily)

I think we can all acknowledge that the last 30 days have been like a very badly written B movie. A virus? So what? There is always something running around making people sick. We were a little slow to grasp the meanness and fast-moving ways of Covid-19.

As of 6pm last night, all Californians have been ordered to shelter in place for 30 days. My friend Patty, who lives in Missouri, texted me at 9pm and asked how I was taking this news. I was in shock. I had just adjusted to the 14-day lock down, but 30 was nuts.

Here is a snapshot of my days since my retirement several years ago due to fibromyalgia. I don’t really go anywhere except medical, nail, and massage appointments. I am in some level of bad pain all.the.time. I make the occasional trip to the store or out to eat. Mostly I am home. Which I have adjusted to.

My current problem: I now feel pressured to be productive as I sit at home. There are all sorts of articles with lists and lists of things one can do to remain active and happy. Declutter your garage! Teach your 7 year old how to balance a checkbook. Get that garden ready for spring. Read. Watch everything on your movie list. All this activity will carry you about two weeks max and then what do you do?

When you are living with a constant sense of the unknown it is natural to unravel a bit. Cabin fever sets in, crankiness and selfishness become housemates. You must fight to be calm and at peace. If you lived through 9/11 you know these feelings well. Everything changed, just like it is with Covid-19. The world will never be the same. It just won’t.

As a Christian, the Bible has taught me that it is a good thing to have my faith stretched and tested. It also promises that if I place my trust in my all loving Father God, I will be fine. There is one thing I learned about being fine. My version and God’s version can be different.

Thirteen years ago, my son Evan had gone through several hip surgeries in one year. He ended up with a life-threatening staph infection and had to be life flighted from our little, rural town to a big city over 3 car hours away. The doctor warned us he might not live long enough to get help. All we could do was get in the car, with friends following us, pray and drive like heck.

Halfway there, my husband told me that he felt that Ev would make it, that he would be fine. My reply? “God’s fine and our fine are sometimes two different things.” This was a true statement. My son, who has Down Syndrome, might die and go to heaven, finally to be without the painful limitations he lives with on earth. Or, as it happened, make a full recovery that was SO fast the medical people were shocked.

No matter what happens in the following days, let’s not frantically zoom through the days. There are lessons to be learned, and love to be shown to each other. Even in the face of disaster, miracles can be found.