Posts Categorized: Faithfulness

Oh, My Aching Back!!

I thought I had sciatica. A sharp pain ran across my left hip, down the back of my thigh, and on through my calf. I tried thinking that it would disappear on it’s own. It didn’t. Walking didn’t help. My regular routine at Curves didn’t do anything to alleviate the irritation. It wouldn’t go away.

The pain wasn’t severe. At night, in bed, I could always arrange my leg so that the discomfort diminished; I could sleep. I could do what I needed to do. I just was uncomfortable all the time.

The physical therapy place is right by Providence Hospital. Apparently, there is no nice photo anywhere online.

The physical therapy place is right by Providence Hospital. Apparently, there is no nice photo anywhere online.

At my regular checkup, my doctor showed me an exercise that might help and, more importantly, she said she would send me to physical therapy a couple of times. A few days later, therapy phoned and set up an appointment. Therapist Richard did a thorough exam, identified the problem (probably a bulging disc), and explained everything. He gave me a brochure with guidelines for a healthy back, and sent me to the secretary who set up eighteen appointments–three a week for the next six weeks.

The next visit, Richard led me through a few exercises and reviewed the changes I was making at home: how I got in and out of the car, how to lift things properly, and how I should squat instead of bending over to retrieve things I dropped on the floor. I never realized how often I do drop stuff on the floor until I had to squat to pick them up.

A spine with it's hip bones attached

A spine with it’s hip bones attached

In the therapy suite, there are numerous models of various bones and sets of bones. Richard brought over a spine for me to examine.

“If we can stretch out the vertebrae,” he explained, tugging on the lower part of the spine.

“It will give that bulging disc an opportunity to slip back into its place. That will relieve the pressure on it, and make the pain go away.”

He furrowed his brows a little and, with a bit of a question in his voice, suggested we try “mechanical lumbar traction.”

“Fine,” I said. “I want to get better.” He led me to a small room off the physical therapy gym, and we stood together in front of a exam table.

“This belt,” he said, pointing to a wide vinyl strap, “will go around your abdomen. It attaches to the top of the table. This one,” he said, showing me another strap, “will go around your hips. It attaches to this machine.” He pointed to a blinking box at the other end of the table. I looked at him soberly.

“Richard,” I said, solemnly. “This is a rack.”

“Well,” he admitted, “sort of.” And he strapped me in.


Richard explained that the machine would tug for 40 seconds, then relax for 40 seconds. It would repeat that cycle for 20 minutes. He handed me a call button. “You can press this at any time, and it will stop the machine,” he said. “In case it gets unbearable.”

“Is it going to be unbearable?!?” I asked, a little alarmed.

“Well,” he said, “some people feel a little claustrophobic. Sometimes.”

“Ah.”

With that, he walked to the door, switched off the light, and pulled the door closed.

The machine gently tugged for 40 seconds, then rested for 40 seconds. Tugged for 40; rested for 40. I snoozed.

Twenty minutes pass pretty quickly when you’re napping.

Next session, I was ready. I had ear buds and an audio book to listen to while I was mechanically lumbar-tractioned. I loved it. How many times does someone say, “Lie down. Relax. Stay right here for twenty minutes.”

It was certainly my most favorite part of therapy. Besides the rack, I spent time on the squat machine, strengthening my thigh muscles. Numerous exercises, machines, and routines were designed to strengthen my “core,” so my abs would hold me up straight and keep my back strong.

Sometimes, Richard would have me lie down on a large platform, on a pad, and say, “Just for fun . . . .” and then explain some wildly difficult and goofy exercise.

“Richard,” I would reply, “your ideas of fun and my ideas of fun are are as far apart as the East is from the West.”

One such exercise involved my lying, face up, on a long dense foam cylinder, about 6 inches in diameter, that ran from my neck to my hips. With my arms above my head and my feet on the mat, knees up, just balancing on the thing required all my concentration. Then he said, “Just for fun,” (not from where I’m lying, Richard!) “raise your right knee and bring you left hand down to touch it. Then, do that with your left knee and right arm.” As I worked with intense diligence to perform this maneuver, my arms and legs flailed about, and I often rolled right off that thing. I’ve looked online, through several sites that show how to use a foam roller for strengthening and for physical therapy. Out of all of them, only one suggested lying on the thing with it along one’s spine. And they were NOT lifting their legs from the mat.

“Do you ever film patients in therapy,” I asked.

“Sometimes,” Richard said.

“And then do you guys get together at parties and show them to each other and laugh at us.”

“Of course not,” he said, bristling. Hmmm. Maybe I believe him.

Anyway, I needed ten weeks of therapy in all. But I got stronger and the pain disappeared. I do my exercises regularly, and I try to remember to put bags and boxes and my purse on a chair or a counter or a shelf. Then I don’t have to squat down to pick them up again. I’m working on not dropping so much stuff on the floor. And I got a treadmill for walking, which is the best thing for spine health.

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

Psalm 139:13-14 (New International Version )

So Long, Old Friend

I’m about to have to say goodbye to an old and dear resident of my closet. (No, not some living thing. Some fabric thing.)

The McCart Family Thrift Store. It's amazing.

The McCart Family Thrift Store. It’s amazing.

Several years ago, I was in Fort Worth, visiting Kevin and April, along with my sister and niece. JoAnne and Natalie were wanting to do some shopping for Patrick’s (the middle child) wedding. JoAnne didn’t find anything (despite April’s strong encouragement to purchase a pair of bright pink cowgirl boots). Natalie did find a nice sundress with a pink and peach floral pattern on it, in the colors of the wedding. The place April had taken us to was a huge, well-organized, clean, and well-stocked consignment store. McCart’s Family Thrift Store. We all did a bit of shopping, and, as I looked through clothing, I made a wonderful find! Denim overall shorts! Giant-sized! They looked perfect for working in the yard and around the house when I was doing messy things, like painting. It was in good shape; I don’t recall what I paid for it, but whatever it was, I’ve gotten great wear from it.

Recently, though, it’s begun to show just how much work it’s done over the past few years. And, it’s beginning to have holes so large that it might be becoming inappropriate for me to wear in public (even if that “public” is in my backyard).

So, I went to the place where I do most of my where-can-I-find-that shopping: Amazon. I asked for “Cherokee (the brand of my old overalls) short denim overalls.” Looks like the Cherokee people do not make short denim overalls any more; nothing matching what I had been wearing for several years came up. So, I tried asking for “denim overall shorts.”

 

I ordered them. Not the largest size, which was 4X. That seemed overzealous. But I did order the 2X. I’m not going for looks. I’m going for comfort, and plenty of space so that I can put my gardening gloves in a pocket and a pair of small pruners in another pocket and my phone in a pocket and my glasses in a pocket. And a couple of shirts underneath the overalls, if it’s a little chilly out. I just want lots of room.

And, news from the front yard …

 

She considers a field and buys it;
    with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
She girds herself with strength,
    and makes her arms strong.

Proverbs 31:15-17 (New Revised Standard Version)

Okay. It’s not quite a vineyard. It’s an herb garden. And a thyme garden. And a shady place with a garden bench. But my arms are strong enough to transfer a big bag of mulch or topsoil from the car’s trunk to a wheelbarrow, and to cart that bag to the backyard. And spread that mulch or topsoil where it needs to be. While wearing my overalls.

What Definition of “Great” Are You Using?

Earlier this week, I watched three episodes of American Experience on PBS, about America’s involvement in World War I. I never knew much about the war; I guess we never got that far in World History (in something the same way that we never got much beyond the Civil War in American History, or much beyond the Alamo in Texas History). Starting in 2014, as the centennial mark of the beginning of the war meant that there was more attention to it, I tried to become more informed, which just lead to lots of weeping. But, I started with:

Also, I knew that my paternal grandfather served in France in WWI. My maternal grandfather, by time America got involved and established a draft, had four daughters, including a young infant, so most likely draft-exempt.

 

Leroy Goodwin began his service on October 2, 1917, and was part of the American Expeditionary Forces, from June 1918 ’til January 1919, with an Honorable Discharge on February 15, 1919. Armistice Day for WWI was November 11, 1918. I know absolutely nothing else about his military service.

Except that he had some time to shop, probably in those weeks between Armistice Day and when he came back home.

My grandmother in the center. From the left: her brother, Frank, her Army son (Ozero, my Dad), Grandma, her Navy sons (C.L. and Joe)--they all came home alive

My grandmother in the center. From the left: her brother, Frank, her Army son (Ozero, my Dad), Grandma, her Navy sons (C.L. and Joe)–they all came home alive

 

My dad’s older brother C. L. enlisted in the Navy right after the Pearl Harbor attack. Their younger brother, Joe, wanted to, but had to wait until he was a little bit older. My Dad was in college at Ohio State, and wanted to finish school. But, he got drafted into the Army. He ended up stationed in Texas, where he met my mother. He was part of the occupation army in Japan, after the war ended. He did finish school, but instead of Ohio State, it was at Baylor in Waco, where he and my mother lived happily ever after.

David’s dad was a medic in WWII, in Belgium and Luxembourg. His brother was an army man, too.

 

 

 

 

 

I looked at maps, to try to see how WWI affected Europe.

Also, I found this: 40 maps that explain WWI. When I have some time, I think it will help explain things, too. But, I will not have time now. Peter’s coming!

 

After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying,

“Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power to our God, (New Revised Standard Version)

και μετα ταυτα ηκουσα φωνην οχλου πολλου μεγαλην εν τω ουρανω λεγοντος αλληλουια η σωτηρια και η δοξα και η τιμη και η δυναμις κυριω τω θεω ημων (1550 Stephanus New Testament [Greek])

יט לאחר מכן שמעתי קול אדיר שנשמע כקול המוני אנשים בשמים: “הללויה! הודו לה’! הישועה, הכבוד (Hebrew)

Afta da big angel guy wen talk, jalike one dream, I wen hear one big noise dat wen sound like get plenny peopo inside da sky. Dey singing,

“God, he da greates! Hallelujah! He take us outa da bad kine stuff we stay in! He da awesome One! An he da One dat get plenny power! (Hawai’i Pidgin)

  После этого я услышал голос, звучащий, как голос огромного множества людей. Они восклицали в небесах:

– Аллилуйя!
    Спасение, слава и сила у нашего Бога (Russian)

Revelation 19:1

No matter how you say it, it’s Hallelujah! Our God reigns.

I Was Lulled into Inaction . . .

. . . by the previous two winters. They were mild. And, whenever there was a threat of freezing temperatures, all the plants were just fine. It’s always warmer in my backyard than it is at the airport, ‘way out of town. So, this past December (I think it was), when low temps were forecast, I was an unbeliever. Oh, they’ll be fine I said to myself. And, the big cold front that was supposed to blow in after sundown, blew in a few hours earlier, and I went out and got a cute bougainvillea that I really liked. And I moved other stuff closer to the house, which has worked in the past. Then I came in, too chilled by the earlier-than-expected temperature drop to do much else.

And I lost most everything.

But, there’s some good news!

 

 The flowers are unfolding in the fields;
        the birds are warming up their songs,
 The cooing of the turtledove
        is heard throughout the land.

Song of Solomon 2:12 (The Voice)

 

 

IMG_3068This photo, and I am so not making it up, is a picture that my phone took of the inside of my overalls’ bib pocket. Really. I was working outside and heard the click of a photo being taken. I looked down and saw that the smooth side of a snap, on the inside of the pocket, was right in line with the shutter button on the phone (which was facing forward but upside down). So, there you go. The machines are beginning to take over. I hope they can live peacefully with the plants and flowers.

They Really Don’t Make Things Like They Used To, Do They

Yeah, we hear that all the time, don’t we. Or, at my age, we say that all the time. Things don’t last. Everything seems to be the fad of the moment. Planned obsolescence.

My parents used the same telephones for, oh, maybe thirty years. You used things until they wore out or broke down.

Almost everything in our house now is something timeless and durable, from my parents’ or my grandparents’ time.

The desk where I sit to write (and play computer games, and watch videos, and listen to music and read e-mails) was one of the first pieces of furniture that my parents purchased after they married. If there’s a tornado, I should probably sit in the kneehole; it’s pretty solid.

I’ve been working on a writing assignment, and there were just lots of pieces of paper, with plans, and information, and a notebook, but I needed to have stuff more spread out. The small library dictionary table (where the paper cutter usually stays) just wasn’t spacious enough. I kept having to pick up the pile, shuffle through it, put what I needed on top of the pile, then, within minutes, need something else, shuffled through the papers, finding what I needed, and so on. And so on.

“I need a table, or chairs, or something…” I started to walk around the house, and walking by the hall closet, remembered. At the back of the closet, not exactly easy to get to, but not impossible, was the old card table.

Lots of parties, lots of game nights, lots of overflow seating for extra family and friends.

The new card table was round and had matching chairs. Mother got them with Green Stamps.

The new card table was round and had matching chairs. Mother got them with Green Stamps.

Mother and Daddy often had friends over on Friday or Saturday nights, to play cards. Then learned how to play bridge. They got a better card table.

Do I need to explain to you what S&H Green Stamps were?

And that card table saw lots of parties, lots of game nights, lot of overflow seating for extra family and friends. But, of course, Mother and Daddy didn’t get rid of the old, square, cardboard-topped card table.

After Mother was gone, and Daddy moved to a retirement residence, we had a big estate sale. But first, we went through things and decided what to keep and what to sell. JoAnne took the round table with the chairs. And I thought, oh, well, it doesn’t take up much room; I should probably keep the old one.

We get it out every now and then, when we’re working a jigsaw puzzle, or, just need some extra flat space.

IMG_2979

It was perfect!

You can see that the little library table was simply not adequate. It was full. The bed was full. And the card table, older than most of the people I know, sat on its stable legs, held up (on its saggy top) all my papers, all the information I needed just a twist away from the computer screen.

Kevin and Peter have arrived, and I’ve sent in almost all of the writing project. The few things left are easily managed. I’ve folded up the card table, and it’s ready to return to the back of the closet until next time. Maybe they don’t make things like they used to. But…they used to.

 

 

This is the day that the Lord has made;
    let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalm 118:24 (New Revised Standard Version )

There’s always so much to rejoice about. Having what I need when I need it. Getting important work done. And Peter’s going to be here for a couple of days.

 

Goodbye, Old Paint*

That first Buick

That first Buick

The next one looked very much like this (at least as I remember it).

The next one looked very much like this (at least as I remember it).

My parents’ first car was a Buick. There was a brother-in-law who had a Buick dealership in Hillsboro, and maybe he made them a good deal. However it happened, Daddy forevermore drove Buicks. (Well, there were a couple of Volkswagen bugs that we had when JoAnne and I were teenagers and needed to drive ourselves around. Otherwise, Buick after Buick after Buick.)

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Tiny Tidiers

One of the things that teachers of preschoolers are interested in, whether it’s in a school classroom or a church classroom, is the development of life skills. Like putting things away. If the kids don’t help put things away, then teachers are left with significant clean-up work at the end of a day, or even just when Sunday School is over. And, as with much of life, if it’s fun, the work goes more quickly.

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