information

Sometimes too much information is not a good thing.

In all the research I have done for the kind of surgery rescue dog Lily had I learned what it was, what to expect in recovery, when she could begin to use her leg, some caveats, how much better the recovery is than other surgeries.

All good. Until today.

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In doing more research for Lily’s current stage I learned the plate they put in can be rejected.

I am not normally prone to panic, but this surgeon/vet is tacit in her directions and instructions for supporting Lily almost as if I need to read her mind. Do these people truly have that much of a problem explaining things? It’s very frustrating.

Lily seems to be doing ok. Her leg is not swollen. She walks with almost no limp. I was told to put her back on anti-inflammatory meds because her xrays showed inflammation and swelling. No one showed me, just told me.

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I realize all dogs are different. I realize I know Lily better than this surgeon. I realize the procedure she had on this leg is much different from the lateral band procedure she had the first surgery. But that one, her vet told us to get her walking soon, walk her slowly but daily to ensure her muscles did not atrophy.

In this case she has been absolutely immobile for almost 5 weeks. Very strange for her.

Like dead calm at sea.

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At some point momentum has to start again.

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help

Funny how an outcry can become triumphant in a short span of time. The problem is until you know help is at hand it seems it never will be.

At a loss about many things I was looking into do-it-yourself classes when I had another idea: could the local pest control company install a dehumidifier?

Yes, they could!

And they are–

IMG_0887.JPGRescue dogs Lily and Lulu supervising the project

It appears this will take all day, but my requests were large: could they replace the old, fallen-down insulation with new, replace the old vapor barrier with new and better and install the dehumidifier?

Yes. The only thing is when I ask someone to do something seldom do I really understand what is involved. The old vapor barrier is kept and the new one simply placed on it but the debris from a 20-year-old crawl space has to first be swept out. Then the new insulation goes in. Then the vapor barrier goes on. Then the dehumidifier goes in (which cannot be done until the outlet is wired which happened Wednesday). Then the pump is connected and the moisture tube routed out through a vent. Then all the vents are closed off so no additional moisture gets in the space. Then the dehumidifier is tested to see it all works.

So this isn’t like installing, say, a new refrigerator filter or an air purifier. A lot has to happen.

And I noticed other happier things that also happened

IMG_0886.JPGA tillisandia bloomed (like tiny bromeliads, air plants)

And the camellias that were barely opening a week ago bloomed despite the hard frost we had a few days ago

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And someone is coming to pressure wash my house Monday and will take a look at the gutter that got dinged when the neighbor’s bradford pear tree gave it a glancing blow as it fell during Hurricane Florence.

Maybe most importantly I have learned patience. None of this had to happen immediately. I have learned some other important things: take my time discussing logistics, get more than 2 estimates for the work, understand these are also people with things that are happening in their lives– illness, new babies, dealing with their own repair and maintenance. Never forget this.

So much to be thankful for.

I think I will wait a while with the other projects. For me this was a lot to happen in a week!

“Lord, show me just so much (neither more nor less) about myself as I need for doing Thy will now.”           –C. S. Lewis: The Collected Letters, Volume III, Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy 1950-1963

healing

When people are hurt we are likely to seek help in a way we can find solace. When people are sick we see a doctor. We develop a bond of trust that the doctor knows how best to help us.

Animals are different.

When rescue dog Lily was ready to come home after surgery and they brought her to show me how to care for her she very tentatively entered the room until she had assurance that I would not reject her. I praised her for her bravery and she could barely contain her delight to see me.

When I was younger I was very fond of a little terrier my dad had given me. One summer vacation in high school I worked in Aspen, Colorado. My parents and I had written letters occasionally but they did not tell me that one evening when they’d had friends to dinner my father and the husband of the other couple got into a political argument. The man and his wife left in anger and no one noticed my little Piper had got out of the house until she yelped when he ran over her. He stopped immediately of course and they took her to the vet. The accident had broken her leg, thankfully it wasn’t much worse.

I came home from this job and called for Piper. No response. At this point my parents let me know what had happened and I began to search for her. I found her under an arm chair in the living room. She wouldn’t come out. I got on my hands and knees and, lowering my head so I could see her eye to eye and telling her how glad I was to see her only then did she come out and let me see her injury, cast and all. After that she clumped around happily, knowing I loved her all the same.

Attachment-1.jpegWe have to learn to trust. Some have little problem with it having been treated honestly and well in their lives. Others who have not are continually testing their faith, filled with doubt. Lily knew, when she realized I love her and will care for her that she had no reason to doubt or fear. God has never given me reason to doubt or fear Him, either. But there are times when I confuse what I hope to expect from people on the same level I trust God.

Doesn’t work that way.

This is why I think people have told me through my life not to hold too hard to stuff. To take others and myself lightly. Being dependable is so important but, being imperfect it’s not possible. Not always, and maybe even not as others interpret dependable.

But Lily. She only knows she is injured. I know she will heal. When she arrived home she immediately responded to the familiar with attempts to behave as though there were no injury at all. So she had to adjust to her limitations.

Even today, though each day she is incrementally better, she expresses frustration at not being able to take off after a squirrel like she would have before. She looks at me as if I could do something. I pet her, reassure her that it is ok that she can’t get that squirrel. I convince her that her very commanding presence is enough to put great fear in this little squirrel and that is sufficient. Well, I like to think I do.

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hidden blessings in lessons

My father, though generous and kind was a perfectionist. No one is really perfect, but he wanted us to believe he was and he expected it of others. Hard to please. He was in his late 80s before he told me he was proud of me which came as a complete and utter surprise. So much that all I could say in response was that I was proud of him, too.

So for many years this high bar was the source of a lot of frustration.

My ex-father-in-law I can recall often said, “don’t do as I do, do as I say do.” Though he was one of the most humble men I have ever met.

I have learned many things. Just watch as a dog struggles to dislodge a rawhide chip or some other much-wanted morsel from under something. Until all efforts are exhausted they will go at this with persistence showing no anger or impatience.

So this week my two rescue dogs, Lily and Lulu and I were finishing our long walk when I threw a stick for Lily, a favorite game of hers. As she turned to go after it she yelped and came limping back, her left hind leg dangling uselessly. Not far from the car I helped Lily into the backseat praying the whole way home it was not her ACL.

It was.

Her vet scheduled her surgery for January 8 and sent us home with two prescriptions for pain.

She occasionally looks up at me with her “Walkies?” face and I sit by her and pet her soft fur and explain we can go for walkies but not today. In nature the injured, sick and aging are often left behind their pack. I reassure her that she is still loved and she will be ok.

When we go outside I have learned to walk more slowly so as not to rush Lily. I notice things. I can feel tension drain away. I feel more rested. I am more present with Lily, with myself, the air.

IMG_0810.JPGMarquise Amaryllis that I noticed blooming this week

I am realizing that even though I have been retired for over 10 years I need to slow down more. Like Lily I can no longer push myself as I once did, or I shouldn’t.

I have 4 steps onto my front porch. Lily can manage getting down much better than she can climb. So I help her as she steps up each step one at a time. How many times I have cried out to God when I find myself in a mess or situation that leaves me helpless.

And each time He has shown me the way.

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 Your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left.”  –Isaiah 30:21 NASB

 

smart phones

This must be because they can do what we normally did ourselves– keep calendars, address books, camera, small libraries, maps, driving directions, and they can even ping to be found if misplaced.

Then you add things.

I love birds so I have an app from Audubon that gives information about all the birds, their songs, habits, areas and migration. I put a Bible app, a star chart, an app for my library and the weather.

This was why I put having one of these off for so long. Initially cell phones in my life were for emergencies. No one even knew I had one. With the disappearance of phone booths if I had car trouble how would I call anybody?

But the lure was too great. And they are pretty handy. Until they completely interfere with your life and sanity.

I first became obsessed with the health app, being a walker of my dogs and self. Now I have to keep this phone with me at all times to count each step I take.. And I found every time I pushed the steps I took this phone increased my daily average. So  now I have to keep up with the phone.

But the most recent distraction is a game my sister-in-law and niece play. This was something I was absolutely sure would not get me hooked.

I was wrong.

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It is a little game, free, called “Word Cookies”. I love words. I only had 2 years of Latin but being a reader I love learning new words. That’s all this game does. It has many levels, modeled after chef names and has levels within them named for foods. Within that there are 20 levels where you’re given a scrambled word, anywhere from 6-8 letters and you have to find all the words within this word as well as unscramble the main word.

I cannot stop playing this.

I never knew I could be so caught up in any game. Along with figuring out the words you collect coins for different tests and games. The coins can be used if you get stumped. The problem with this for me is I easily become frustrated when a simple word is hidden so well I cannot see it, so I use a coin, then berate myself for having wasted the coin for “into” or “ion”. I am not frugal here. Everywhere else in my life I am very careful.

Maybe this can be a test for me to learn better self-control by limiting the amount of time I play this game. Or patience, waiting until the word I cannot find becomes evident.

Either way I can’t let this thing run my life.

And it just added 700 more levels. At that rate I probably won’t live long enough to finish them all.

“Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend.”   –Theophrastus

The art of waiting

Trains, buses, meetings to end, summer, spring, winter to end, families to arrive, holidays to come, holidays to end, vacations, the roast to be done, elevators, seedlings, appointments, babies, good news, these are all things we at some point wait for.

But now everything happens faster. Mail replaced pony express. Telephones replaced mail. Texts replace phone calls and thank you notes and party invitations and announcements. And so waiting has become obsolete. There is so much busyness and distraction waiting almost doesn’t happen.

But there it is. The medical test they gave you Friday and won’t give results till Monday. You wait. You can wait gracefully or anxiously. By the end of the wait you can have convinced yourself of horrible things, or not.

Waiting is an art. Kind of like aging.

My dad did not go gentle into that good night. Not at all. At the end he was so angry. He wanted me to give him something he could break. All I found was a straw. Not very gratifying.

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My mom would plant tiny spring flowers. They would begin to take root and she would check them each day, pulling a little on their leaves and tender stems. The ones that survived this encouragement lived and bloomed, but she had a hard time waiting for them.

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When we’re hungry it is hard to wait for food. Mostly we don’t have to, stuff is so instant now. Fast food drive through or microwave, in a matter of moments steaming hot food is available. Food in some form.

Sometimes problems or thoughts wake me in the night. And sometimes these thoughts do not surface, so I am left wondering why, after only 5 hours of sleep I am now wide-awake wondering what I am supposed to be thinking of. So I wait for whatever it is to surface. Invariably it doesn’t, or my brain bombards me with a hundred thoughts of that day’s sentences I heard, questions asked, arguments thwarted, incomplete thoughts… anything and everything except whatever it is that woke me. Sometimes it will come to me and I can work through it but sometimes it does not. So until or unless I can go back to sleep I wait for morning.

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Somehow everything is better in daylight.

And I have many things I pray about. Family things, social things, political things. Anyway, stuff I have no control over. Stuff I need God to fix, or change, or stop, or start.

So I pray, and I wait. I try to be good at this. I realize many components go into effecting change. And I know nothing is impossible with God. Yet some things do not happen when I believe they should. Or if they do I would have done them a certain other way. Sometimes they may not happen at all. But I have to trust God. I have to wait for God’s timing.

This isn’t easy, but it is the best way.

Picture0310181747_1Rescue dog Lulu has mastered the Art of Waiting

“Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.”    Proverbs 8:34

“Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain.”    James 5:7

change

Rescue dogs Lulu and Lily and I drove to our favorite beach last week only to find  very large, old and rusted pipe blocking our access to the water.

Picture0217181432_1.jpgSo we clambered over (I carried Lulu, Lily jumped)

There’s been a lot of pushback along the eastern seaboard lately. Nobody wants to have any fracking or exploratory blasting or drilling here. At all. Apparently Florida has gotten a pass, maybe because the sitting president has a large chunk of real estate on the east coast. But we do not want any of our sparkling shoreline damaged, nor any sea life either. This section of the east coast is called the crystal coast for a very good reason. And we don’t want brown sludge or dead fish and other sea life washing on shore.

So a few days later we walked out to the same part of the island and saw this

Picture0217181429_1.jpga dredge sitting just off the shallows of the inlet

The pipe clearly was too narrow to be a conveyance for oil or gas but with all that’s being discussed and protested it was enough to frighten. Moving a little sand to scoop out the channel or replenish the beaches makes sense.

Drilling does not.

I have few issues with the person who was elected president. He has a clear agenda and for the most part wants to protect America and our people. I realize I am not taking a popular side. However, as with the last several presidents I know it is important to respect and pray for the president and all leaders–

“I urge then, first of all, that petitions, prayer, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people– for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all goodness and holiness.” 1Timothy 2:1-2

God is our only true authority, forever. I am not so naive as to want everyone to get along, though that would be great. It isn’t possible. We believe different things. We want different things. But in the end we are each of us responsible for ourselves. What and how we think, act, say. So I know I am grateful for a little dredging of my own thoughts, clearing out some things and working through them. When I look at them alone the effort seems hopeless. When I look through the filter of God’s love for me I see clearer. With compassion, truth, hope. Alone I become frustrated, angry. With His help I have more patience, understanding.

“For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus.” –Romans 15:4-5

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