Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Moving On and Moving Out

Well I have had the busiest and most random few days...which means that this blog entry will most likely be a bit random...since I haven't quite settled myself from the random busyness yet!   So well said...makes you want to keep reading, right? :)'s the Moving On part:

Mercedes Man, (aka my husband of 22 years), celebrated his birthday at the end of last week!  And hitting 2 notches above the half century mark didn't even cause him to blink and eye.  Nope, he was were his girls...and his wife, (that's me)...even though it does seem a little weird to me that I am married to a man in his 50's.  He is a bit older than me, but really how did we get to this phase so quickly?  Probably because we had 2 girls and I've spent the better part of the last 18 years sleep deprived.  Well, that was random...but I warned you that may happen...I'm focusing now.

So why were we all so excited to see the man grow another year older?  Because Mercedes Man is also Miracle Man...which will explain the Mercedes Man tag in a minute.  You see, just a little less than 2 years ago...after battling 10 years of medical challenges, my husband was diagnosed with liver cancer.  (If you know me then you have probably been following my email updates for the past 2 years and know all of this...but for those of you who don't here's his story in a nutshell).  My husband's medical situation is complicated but I won't bore you with the details.  Bottom line, with a liver cancer diagnosis for him, liver transplant was the only option.  It was life or was scary...we were dependant on a miracle because a living donor was out of the question.

In April of 2010 someone else's loss became our gift of life...and we don't take that lightly!  God provided the liver transplant much quicker than we had expected and just in the nick of time.  We later found out that the cancer had spread throughout the liver and in approximately 2 weeks would have grown to the extent that transplantation would not have been an option.  No transplant then would have left us with no man now!  Thus the enthusiasm we all greeted his birthday with!

The miracle of a liver transplant is why we call him Mercedes, not because there is a doc out there driving a brand new Mercedes thanks to all the medical bills we've paid...well there might just be, but that's not the reason, (and if there is I'll not begrudge him that pleasure since you can't put a price on the man's life).  We call him Mercedes Man because that's the term used for the type of incision made on his belly to get the old liver out and the new one in.   It looks pretty much like the inside of the Mercedes emblem.  The scar starts at the bottom of his sternum, splits off at the top of his abdomen and the right (liver) side extends farther, wrapping around the side.  We have post op pics but I won't share...grody...but I'm just thankful that he didn't have a scar called the VW! :)  In fact we don't mind the scar at all...we celebrate that a sign of the miracle God worked through the hands of a highly skilled transplant team.

Mercedes Man has had many serious complications on his road to recovery, but he is doing some better now.  He's Moving On into this second chance of life and we are happy to be going with him!

Now on to Moving Out...not the same emotional high as Moving On...more like a roller coaster of 'mom feelings':

While celebrating the man's birthday we were also busy moving the 1st born into her college dorm...and so the roller coaster effect began...

Pride - for all the hard work that the Joyster had put into landing scholarships and getting loans and grants,  Thanksgiving - to the Lord for all He has done in her life and this situation to bring her to this place, Sadness - that my girl doesn't sleep down the hall from me or come home every afternoon to tell me about her day anymore, Relief - that we have texting (she even sent me a pic in her '1st day of school outfit' :))  Excitement - to see how she grows and all that the Lord has in store for her in this next phase!

She is just down the interstate from me (thankfully not in another state) and I will get to see her more than some mom's get to see their college kids (another thankful moment) but I did think I might cry when I saw her settled into her dorm room and we had to drive away.  This would have been huge as I am not a mom who cries much...didn't do the Kindergarten cry - usually embrace each new phase with excitement for my kids.  But going into this felt so much different than anything before.  I knew she was right where God wanted her and that she would be fine, (her sis and she had weathered being without either parent post transplant for 2+ months), but I wasn't done with her yet!  I love my teenagers...sometimes they make me a little crazy...but they are great girls and a lot of fun and I miss them when they are not around.  However on that move-in weekend, (her university drags it out with a lot of family activities - more to help the parents than students I'm sure) I had such a sense of peace and joy that not a single tear formed, let alone dropped...of course knowing that she's close enough for me to get to her if I want helped too!

She looked too darned cute in that dorm room...and we were having too much fun settling her in and touring the campus!

Life will be different...

But she will only get better and better because of this God given opportunity...
and hopefully I will get better and better at trying to figure out how to parent through this phase of life

When it comes right down to it, I guess I am celebrating Moving Out too...because for the Joyster it is a Moving On and she is headed in a great direction...and via text messages I'm getting to enjoy much of her ride!
Serving Him and You,

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Verse to Chew On

Therefore as God's chosen people holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness and humility, gentleness and patience.  Colossians 3:12 NIV

Do you ever watch the TLC show What Not to Wear?  I caught an episode of it just the other day...I turned it on just to keep me entertained while I took a much needed load off my feet - but I think it was a divine appointment!

On this show 2 style gurus, Stacy and Clinton, take some poor lucky gal, point out all of her wardrobe mishaps...reprogram her thinking on what is 'in' for fashion and best for her body type...give her a $5,000 Visa Card to shop with...and turn her loose on the streets of NYC to follow the 'rules' and purchase a whole new wardrobe...which, by the way, she now desperately needs as every article of previously owned clothing has been stuffed into the What Not to Wear trash can!

I call watching this a divine appointment because I sure needed the reminder.  You see for a gal who loved putting an outfit together complete with accessories and up-to-date hair and make-up I haven't been doing too great of a job while traveling on Mercedes Man's road to recovery.  More often than I care to admit I would find myself wearing (yes even in public) 'whatever'.  You know, what-ever was clean, what-ever was handy, what-ever happened to fit...and my only accessory was a black ball cap with Seattle across the front purchased for $4 at a drug store while stocking up on post surgical supplies.  Now doesn't that paint a pretty picture...sheesh!

I do give myself some grace for the time spent living out of the Man's hospital room.  My beauty routine there consisted of 'facials' with disinfectant smelling soap and paper towels in the public restroom and self done haircuts with manicure scissors...explains the ball cap, doesn't it!

But really, what about all the time back at home when this was still my go to uniform!?!  Well for those days I have a host of good reasons excuses for not putting anymore effort into my appearance as well.  Like...I was soooo sleep deprived...none of my cute stuff fits anymore cuz I've put on a few pounds sitting in medical establishments...I won't see anyone I know...blah, blah, blah.  Honest to goodness, at times through this process, getting myself fixed up really did require more physical and mental energy than I could muster...but somewhere along the road I think I just got lazy or complacent and kind of just gave up.  I got out of the routine of taking just a few deliberate moments for me each morning and instead hit the ground running - living under the tyranny of the urgent.  I bet you can relate a little to that last sentence without ever having to live through an organ transplant situation...I'm having flashbacks to when my teenagers where toddlers! =]

Then a funny thing happened.  A couple of weeks ago I found myself in a couple of different situations that allowed me to be out of my house and away from any type of medical setting for four days in a row...situations that required more than the 'whatever' outfit and ball cap.  Situations that required a little effort invested in my appearance.  And you know what?  I actually found/made the time to look decent...I got my hair and make-up done and ended up sporting a decent looking outfit, with accessories, four days in a row.  Now I don't mean to imply that this was the first time that I left the house looking presentable in two years...there were isolated occasions when I would be deliberate about my appearance out of necessity...but I had lost that sense of routine that I seemed to get back during those four days.

And low and behold - I actually felt better on the inside for the effort I applied to the outside!  I won't take up the space here to analyze the psychology of that...but it was a bit of an epiphany for me.  I had forgotten what a difference that type of deliberate effort could make on my I interact with others, on my outlook and even on my energy level.  When I dress like a schlump-a-dump I feel like a schlump-a-dump...when I invest more energy into my appearance I have more energy to invest...hmm

So by now you may be wondering if I'm ever getting to our Verse to Chew On....well here it comes! =]  Just like I learned that by being deliberate in dressing the outside of me Paul is telling us here in the book of Colossians to be deliberate in dressing the inside!

Therefore as God's chosen people holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves in compassion, kindness and humility, gentleness and patience.  Colossians 3:12

Stacy and Clinton choose some lucky gal to make over because someone that loves her took the time to nominate her...

We are God's choice...He loved us in our schlump-a-dump state enough to send Jesus to make a way for our spiritual make-over...

Stacy and Clinton throw the old wardrobe away and give a $5,000 shopping card, (not their own money)...

Jesus paid a price we could never pay on our own...throws away the filthy rags of our own unpresentable 'righteousness' and covers us in His blood making us beautiful and acceptable before a Holy God...

Stacy and Clinton give their gal the tools to shop with and turn her loose on the streets of New York city...

The Father gives us everything we need that pertains to life and godliness through us with His Word...fills us with His Spirit...and promises to never leave us or forsake us...

Stacy and Clinton ask their 'client' to participate in dressing herself...

The Lord, through Paul, asks us to participate in dressing ourselves in what He's provided for us - compassion, kindness and humility, gentleness and patience.

What a great reminder for me!  I don't need to hit the ground running in the morning, (well I should my Nike's...then maybe the cute stuff would fit again), responding to the tyranny of the urgent in a spiritually schlump-a-dump state.  No I need to be deliberate in dressing myself in these items of clothing that Jesus has bought and provided for me!  I need to clothe myself...but I do it with His help...just like Stacy and Clinton walk their gal through the process.

I need to start each day deliberately before the mirror of God's Word...telling the Lord of my 'fashion' woes and asking Him to fill me and prepare me for my day...the people that I will come in contact with, (there are 3 even if I don't leave my house) that I can reflect His glory and beauty...listening to His loving instruction and encouragement.

When I make time for this it's amazing how much better I feel!  My situations and circumstances may not improve...but my attitude and ability to deal with them will appear on the 'best dressed' list when I choose to take the time, in a deliberate fashion, to seek the Lord first every day.

So, won't you join me in chewing on this verse?  Take it the Spiritual Style Expert and listen to the fashion advice that He whispers to your heart...what does compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience look like? would these change your appearance?...I bet we will all come away feeling and looking great!

Serving Him and you,

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Technical Difficulties

Well this blogging business hasn't exactly gotten off to the rip-roaring start that I'd imagined in my head...and that's not just because I tend to have a vivid imagination...or the fact that I'm gearing up to move the Joyster into her college dorm, send Lopey off to her sophomore year of High School, or celebrate Mercedes Man's birthday all in the matter of a couple of days.

Nope, it's due to technical difficulties...or maybe operator error, ( sshh - I'm not admitting that to my tech savvy family though!).  Valid enough is the fact that I have had a few minor, yet extremely annoying issues with my lap top and Internet service, (the Man fixed that yesterday...gosh, even sleep deprived and full of a host of medication he makes this stuff look easy)...but that doesn't explain some of the blogging issues I'm having at all! =[

I have noticed, since returning to blog world several weeks ago as a reader, that I haven't been able to post a comment to any of the blogs I follow...argh...this was a skill that I previously pulled off without much effort.  Then I discovered, much to my frustration, that I can't seem to comment on the comments that others are leaving on my blog (which makes me look just plain rude to those thousands of readers who comment - oops there goes that vivid imagination again!)...along with a few other issues that I can't seem to figure out for the life of me!

So, as soon as my 1st Born comes out for air, (she's purging and organizing every square inch of her room here at home while prepping to move out), I'm going to ask her to take a look at things.  The Joyster was the one who, after my almost 2 year off and on failed attempts to make my blog site multi paged, accomplished that task in under 15 minutes with never having looked at a blog site I have great hopes.  She often, along with her younger sister, looks at me and shakes her head, (while they both stifle snickers and hoots), and asks why, when I appear rather bright in some areas, I can't figure out technical stuff worth beans.

I don't take offense to questions like that...I simply point out the fact that they were blessed enough to have computers in their Kindergarten classrooms while I, on the other hand, was limited to flannel boards! 

Anybody reading blogs remember flannel boards...anybody...anybody!?!  Just remember, if you leave a comment answering that, I can't respond...yet...where is that college bound girl anyway?

Serving Him and you,

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Let's Get Cookin'

Well after a long hiatus from ApronStrings Minstries and the Taste and See blog, I am happy to announce my return!

I have a metal sign that hangs in my office.  It says, "Life gets messy so wear your Apron".  So true!  My life has been a bit messy as of late...thus the hiatus.  My husband, now known as Mercedes Man, (more on that in an upcoming post), has gone through the medical ringer for the last 2 years.  I have been his primary care giver...messy, messy, messy!  Trying to keep up with all that entails, (think huge medical learning curve and a long time with very little sleep), plus  trying to keep up with two teen aged daughters left me with little to offer anywhere else!

I've missed blogging...I've missed more formal ministry settings, (a lot of ministry happens in the midst of medical situations...but I think you know what I mean), and I've missed connecting with you!

Things have stabilized, somewhat, with my husband, (although things are a little crazy with the girls - the 1st born is off to college in just a couple of weeks and the 'little one' is taking Driver's Ed - "How can this be, I am not yet ready!?!"), and I've felt the Lord nudging me to Get Cookin' with ApronStrings Ministries and Taste and See once again. goes!

Wondering what to expect?  Me too! =]  Well the plan on paper is for me to blog several times a week.  You can look for entries under...
     *A Verse to Chew on - my weekly devotional
     *Food 4 Thot - encouragement for those of us pursuing better body mgmt.
     *Mercedes Man - the story of my husband's medical challenges
     *Women's Ministry - speaking engagements and other ministries that I like
     *Living Life -  all the wonky things that my life consists of.

I hope that this will be a blessing to you!  I would love to hear from you so feel free to post comments. 

I'm going to Get Cookin' so together we can "Taste and See that the LORD is good" (Psalm 34:8)