Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Black and Blue? Or White and Gold?

Do you ever feel like it just can't get any worse?
I have.
Last week.
My husband has been awaiting knee surgery for a long, pain filled, sleepless month. 
That means I've been waiting too, caring for the pain (his pain, not him!) and not sleeping for a month.
The night before the surgery was the worst.
The pain, not simply in his knee, but whole body pulsed at a rate that kept us both up all night and I kept trying to encourage him, "Hang in there babe, you're on the home stretch.  Only a few more hours and this will be over."
When he wasn't looking, I secretly went in the bathroom and cried.
I was exhausted.
I felt helpless.
I couldn't stand to see him in severe pain anymore.
(Did I mention that we also had 2 little girls up most of the night, crying, scared for their Daddy and scared that they wouldn't see me in the morning when they woke up! - Um, if you never go to sleep, then you don't need to worry about not seeing me when you wake up!  I lost my patience with them around 2am.  "This isn't about you!  I have to take care of Daddy.  You're fine.")
Once we got to the hospital at 5:45am, I exhaled.  This was all going to end shortly.
Praise God.
After surgery prep, an IV, a chat with the anesthesiologist, a talk with the surgeon, I kissed him goodbye and they wheeled him away.
I turned to lounge in the luxurious waiting area and heard, "Mrs. Newquist, wait."
I turned around and saw them putting my husband back in a room.
"I'm so sorry, we don't have it."
Um, have what?
The surgeon didn't like the cadaver ligament they had to put in my husband's knee.
Surgery was canceled.
We'd have to wait one more agonizing day.
St. Patty's was celebrated with surgery and a great new ligament!
Finally we were on the other side.
Hobbling from the car to our bedroom, my husband looked out our front window and saw the grass that now was forming a small jungle. 
He hasn't been able to keep up for sometime because of the pain.
"We're going to have to hire someone to mow the lawns, I can't do it,"  he told me.
"I can do it!  I'll mow the lawns," I offered.
I figured the money we'd spend on a gardener could be applied to a nice pedicure or manicure for me!
 He looked at me like, "there is no way you can mow the lawns!"
My girls agreed, "Mommy, you can't mow the lawns.  You've never done that.  Daddy mows the lawns."
"You just watch your mother rock that lawn mower!" I told them all.
I suited up, and was totally empowered to fire that baby up and squeeze the handle as the mower jumped into action!

 I was doing it!
 I was mowing the lawn!
First time in my whole life!
 I had the large green trash can handy as I had to stop frequently and empty the grass clippings as it was way over grown.
Finally finished, I swept the sidewalks, hosed down the patio and lined the trash cans along the curb for the morning pick up.
I felt like I had conquered the world!
The following evening my next manly duty came as it was time to bring in the empty trash cans.
I've done this job before, many times, but this time was a little different.
As I stood on the curb, holding onto the big blue can, I kicked the bottom to get it on it's wheels.
When I did, the open lid rested on the top of the curb and as I stepped down, I stepped on the lid, launching the can into the air and me with it.
My head hit the can hard just before I hit the asphalt.
Pain instantly took my breath away as I quickly got up to make it in the house before I began to feel the weight of what just happened.
I hobbled into the bedroom, out of breath, shaking and crying, where my husband was resting.
Let's just flash forward to 5 hours later when I returned home from Urgent Care, checked for a concussion and 4 hand x-rays!
The knuckles on my left hand looked like hamburger and I had a knot the size of a lime on my forehead.
I guess this Moma just wasn't cut out for manual labor.
As a few days passed, I started to see my face turn different shades of the rainbow.

"Can you see the black and blue starting to surround my eye?," I asked my husband.
"Not really," he said.
Hmmm  I called the kids in,
"Can you see Mommy's back eye?" 
"No Mommy."
WHAT?  Where was my sympathy?
I became desperate and even asked the guy at Trader Joes!
He told me he just came from Urgent Care as he cut his wrist at work (accidentally!)
I commiserated with him and shared my story, ending with, "Can you see my black eye?"
"No, not really."
It was like that dumb dress, did you see black and blue or white and gold?
Apparently people just couldn't see my black and blue!!!
Well, it would only be a few more short days until I would find what I was looking for -
my son came in holding his ear, "My ear hurts Mommy."
It was after hours, so I took him to Urgent Care.
When they called us back, a familiar nurse glanced at me and asked, "How is your hand?  Oh, and it looks like you now have a black eye!"
YES!  She saw it!
I'm not crazy.
And, I think I hit my limit on hospitals and Urgent Care visits for the year!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Use It Or Lose It

The other day I was in a neighbor's backyard and the intoxicating smell of orange blossoms overwhelmed me.  Her orange tree was covered with tiny white flowers that had all the bees buzzing.
In our backyard we have a very prolific lemon tree, an orange tree and a grapefruit tree, but as I looked at her tree, I realized that we don't have any blossoms on our citrus trees yet.
As I walked home, the fragrance of orange blossoms filled the air and shouted, "Spring is here!".
I quickly went into my backyard only to realize that me trees are filled with fruit, but hardly any blossoms.  Maybe new blossoms can't come if the tree is still filled with fruit.
Perhaps all the fruit needs to be picked and used in its season so that new blossoms can bloom and bring forth new fruit?
I got a basket and began to pick all of our oranges, wondering if I were too late - would new blossoms come, producing new fruit?  Did I miss the season because I was too lazy to pick the fruit when it was ready?
Good life lesson - use it or lose it!
God has given each of us gifts and talents, fruit of sorts, and if we don't use those gifts for His glory, they just sit and not only don't bring joy to us and those around us, but eventually they rot.
Unused fruit also robs us of growing in bigger and brighter ways, producing even more fruit.
What unique gift has God given you?
Are you using it?
Use it or lose it!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Healing Powers of the Ocean

There are 2 things I swear by when anyone in my family gets sick - sick soup and the ocean!
I have always firmly believed in the healing powers of the ocean.
Let's be honest, a few hours at the beach cures all!
I recently was hit with a cold and had to miss a family camping trip to stay in bed and get well.
On day 2 of being home alone, I realized that I needed to go to the beach and experience some healing powers of the sea
 Off I went.

As I walked on the sand I breathed deeply.
The soothing sound of the waves, the forgiving sand beneath my feet, the briny air that filled my lungs, together I could feel them melting away my cold!
I smiled as I thought back on all the times I've taken a child to the beach on day 2 of their cold
Just sitting and looking out at the vastness before us,
unable to wrap our heads around the beginning and end.
I recently read that the percentage of salt in the sea is the same as the percentage of salt in the human body!  Some say that proves we evolved from the sea.  I say it proves that our God has woven a common thread throughout all of His creation and He is constantly surprising us with His creativity and purposes. ( I also think it proves my theory that the ocean has healing powers!)
After my walk I sat down and began to read my Lenten devotional from Ann Voskamp. 
The passage was from Matthew 6:5-13
In this devotional, you slowly read the passage 3 times,
allowing specific phrases to rise off the page and penetrate your heart.
In this passage about how to pray, one phrase jumped up and struck me -
"your Father knows what you need before you ask Him."
With the sea air filling my lungs and blowing my hair, I smiled.
He knew.
I didn't have to ask.
He knew.
As a homeschooling Moma, I rarely get a few hours alone.
I don't remember the last time I was sick in bed, literally!  My children cried as they left to go camping without me, "will you ever get better Mommy?" 
 I laughed because I just don't think they've ever seen me in bed with a cold!
But God knew what I needed before I even asked.
I got to spend 3 days home alone.
God's healing powers of the ocean not only soothed my cold, but they soothed my soul.
He knows what I need before I even ask!
Do you know that God is for you?
Do you know that He sees your need and longs to provide?
Surrender today.
Stop going about your business (busy-ness) and open your hands to receive.


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