Friday, January 13, 2017

Well-now

I've been wanting to write that I'm well now, but even though most of my cold symptoms are gone, discomfort remains that makes that seem less than honest. 

The pain on the left side of my face is from a troublesome tooth and possibly sinuses. I've been referred to an endodontist and hope to have answers soon, even as I doubt I will like those answers. Possible treatments mentioned by the dentist include perhaps another root canal, or maybe have the tooth pulled and replaced with an implant. None of that seems desirable to me, but neither is this nagging pain. 

As much as anything, the toothache and facial discomfort are just one more area where I continue to work through a process. I remain confident the various steps involving fairly minor health issues and use of my time will be resolved in positive ways. I am grateful for circumstances that include the resources I need to be patient. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Sick-sense

I thought I seldom was sick with a real cold. The truth is I seldom took off work because I was sick with a cold.  It didn't mean I wasn't really sick. 

So, while I find myself wondering why I'm sick more now that I'm not working, the truth comes out: I'm not sick more. I'm just acknowledging it more.

The latest round of symptoms became apparent Monday. Even as I tried to deny it might be a cold, I got extra rest and took some over-the-counter meds. Despite my husband's concerns, I thought I felt good enough to go to choir practice by Wednesday night. But not long into the rehearsal, I was aware that I didn't feel that great. And adding to my discomfort was the realization I was probably spreading cold germs, even as I tried not to breathe on or touch anyone. 

So I canceled two appointments for Thursday. Now it's Friday, and I feel quite a bit better. I'm also glad I don't have to get out in the snow and go to work or anywhere else. Something I wanted to attend Saturday was canceled due to the weather. So maybe I'll really be well by Sunday!!

I hope somehow taking better care of myself -- resting, not going out -- when sick helps me be healthier in the long run. Right now, the verdict is still out on that, given that I've had two rounds of a cold in about a month despite this more conscientious approach. But I will remain optimistic and keep trying to make healthy, wholesome choices, even when that means missing things I really would like to do.  

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Ready

It's time. 2017. 

Today is New Year's Day, the holiday. Since New Year's is on Sunday, Monday is a holiday for many of the people who have jobs. 

But I've been on pretty much a vacation since Oct. 17, so I don't think I want to wait another day to get started on some important work. 

Nothing changes if nothing changes. 

If I really want to do something, I will find I way. If I don't want to do something, I will find an excuse. 

Starting tomorrow! (Ha!)

Guided by Scripture and prayer, along with expertise of professionals in my areas of need, and supported by family and friends. 


“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” —Jeremiah 29:11

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well." 
-- Matthew 6:33

"Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

-- Psalm 139:23-24





Saturday, December 31, 2016

Wrapped-up

This year has been like no other for me -- and nothing as planned -- so it's fitting that New Year's Eve involved one more change.

Gene and I planned to go to Stillwater to spend time with my sister Kathy's family and had talked about going to the big Opening Night New Year's Eve celebration in Oklahoma City on our way back. But I began to wonder Friday whether, since sister Amy was in Texas, had anyone considered seeing about Mom riding to Oklahoma with her, and then coming back to Norman with us. I said we could either put Mom on the train in Norman or take her the rest of the way back to her home in Texas on Sunday. That plan was agreed to, so that's what we're doing. And I am grateful. 

Last year, Gene and I spent a freezing New Year's Eve at Opening Night. It was fun as Gene and I were in a renewed phase of enjoying going out and doing things rather than stay in the comfort of home. It was a Thursday, and we had taken advantage of opportunities related to my job that provided access to free parking as well as free admission and food. Even in our mid-to-late 50s, we seemed young and healthy and carefree!

The new year started with the promise of health and healthy approaches to life and love. We were talking about making more specific goals for the year and beyond and how to achieve them. 

But the following Thursday, I was in the emergency room, and the next day -- one week after New Year's Day -- I was in pre-op, consulting with a surgeon before an emergency procedure that would remove about a foot of my colon and leave me with a colostomy for what turned out to be more than three months. 

None of that was among our goals or plans. Much of it was painful and challenging, but by the grace of God and with the support of family, friends and an amazing workplace, we made it through, aware of and grateful for blessings. 

The time off from work during surgery as well as time spent working from home during my recovery made Gene and I long for me to not have to go to the office every day. We talked some about an exit strategy, but the chances of me actually quitting my job never seemed great. We kidded about whether I would eventually quit, retire or get laid off. But that's as far as it went. 

Even when I was among the small group of workers called into a meeting shortly before a quickly called companywide meeting June 8, it didn't immediately register with me that this meant I was being laid off. But I soon did understand. I also quickly learned this was like no other layoff in my 34 years with the company. In all the other cases I was aware of, people were escorted out of the building upon learning their fate. This time, we were told they needed us to work until at least October to help with the transition to outsourcing our jobs.  For me, this was an answer to prayer. My greatest anxiety about the possibility of being laid off had been how to just leave without getting to wrap things up and say good-bye. With at least four months to prepare, I felt pretty sure I could make this transition more smoothly. And I did. 

The last day of work was Oct. 14, and the transition is definitely still in progress. I didn't plan to look for a job before the end of the year, but I had other goals. High on the list was accompanying my husband on his work trips. I also wanted to get some medical issues addressed and start some major housecleaning. And I wanted to start rebuilding some relationships I had let languish. I probably accomplished less than half of my goals.  

I'm surprised this does not seem depressing to me as I write this on New Year's Eve, but it does not. I thank God and my husband for that. 

I don't regret this past year, nor do I wish to shut the door on it. I can look back and learn, but mostly I will look forward and build on a foundation of faith. 


"Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus."
-- Philippians 3:12-14

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Wind-down

I made some before-the-new-year's resolutions. 

High on the list was reconnecting with people. I'd made some progress on that since I became jobless in mid-October. Progress continued as I sent some Christmas cards for the first time since I can't remember when. One of those cards led to a connection over lunch today. Another connection came partly because I didn't have a mailing address -- so I just stopped by for a quick visit! I'm sure that's a breach of etiquette, but I trusted my gut that it would be OK, and it was. 

Also on my year-end goals is progress not perfection. Decide what I want to do, give it my best shot, then move on. I was reminded Tuesday that if a person really wants to do something, he or she will find a way. If not, the person will find an excuse. 

Thinking of that helped me make the quick visit to see friends before they move away, And they seemed grateful I didn't find an excuse. 

That thought also helped me follow my heart to the final worship service for a small rural church in the area that is closing. It was one of those times where I felt drawn to attend something, even though the reason wasn't crystal clear. I just knew it was a now-or-never opportunity. I could go, and so I did. Meanwhile, progress-not-perfection allowed me to be OK without following through on a longing to offer to write a newspaper story about that church closing. (But I also think it's likely this "story" hasn't ended for me yet.) 

There are many, many things I would like to get done before the year ends, and some of those, such as year-end giving and finalizing some medical/insurance  details, have deadlines. Some I have completed; tomorrow is the last chance for others, while a few can wait until Saturday, New Year's Eve.

The list could easily have me depressed and in the past I'm pretty sure it would.  

The same person who offered the reminder about finding a way versus finding an excuse has been helping me with affirmations and intentionally shifting my thoughts to adopt a positive perspective. And it seems to be helping. 

It's all possible because of faith, but it seems the outside guidance and reminders help me focus on my faith and trust in God. I'm grateful for that as this year winds down and always. 

Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods. —Psalm 40:4

When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me? —Psalm 56:3–4

Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. —Psalm 62:8

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal. —Isaiah 26:3–4

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Joy!

Joy!

Singing brings me joy. 

And little is better for me than singing about the joy of Christmas -- God's gift of love through Jesus Christ. 

I prayed that God would take care of my voice for the cantata. Still struggling after a cold, I knew that if I would have strong, clear high notes, they would be from Him. For the sake of the cantata, I'm grateful He delivered. 

The gospel-style cantata was hard to learn and a joy to perform. Many listeners thought it was over too soon. I was grateful that many of us were able to present it at another church that night. 

Later in the week, joy came in singing Christmas music at a senior living center. The residents were grateful and joyous. 

I haven't done as much sharing of joy with others through song and smiles as I had hoped to this year. But I'm grateful for the opportunities I've been able to take advantage of. It's not all about singing. Maybe I will write about some others tomorrow. 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Cautionary

(Hits & Misses: A Cautionary Tale)

Sunday, I had the opportunity to use a ticket someone had bought but couldn't use to attend a local production of "Beauty and The Beast." It wasn't on my long to-do list for the day, but when I thought of what was on the list, I saw no reason not to go. I thoroughly enjoyed the show, especially the beautiful voice and personality of the actress playing Belle. I felt grateful and blessed to be able to go. 

It wasn't until nighttime that I realized that while I was at "Beauty and the Beast" I was missing the memorial service for a longtime church member. Although I had not seen the man and his family in many years, I had planned to attend to offer support. But I completely forgot. By Monday morning, I was mortified: What is wrong with my mind and heart that I would do that? 

And despite the Scriptures of the morning's Jesus Calling, I couldn't see how I was where God would have had me be. I want to use this time of unemployment to show compassion and support and also to rekindle some friendships. And it seemed as if I missed a good opportunity.  So how could I not wonder: What is wrong with me? And what do I do now?? Is there something I need to let God fix? Or is this really right where God wants me to be??

The scriptures from Jesus Calling:

We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose. —Romans 8:28 amp

Then Job replied to the Lord: “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.”  —Job 42:1–3

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. —1 Peter 5:7

We live by faith, not by sight. —2 Corinthians 5:7

I found myself wondering: Is this my payback for years of good intentions and inept follow-through? A heart-wrenching lesson for me and others?

And what now?? Monday morning, I faced another choice: an OA meeting or prayer time at church (for which I would be late because of a doctor appointment). I chose the meeting, but I made the decision intentionally, taking time to check my calendar and to-do list and make sure I hadn't overlooked anything. As the day played out, it seemed to be a good decision. 

Sometimes my choices, whether planned or spontaneous, seem to hit the mark of God's calling. But often they look to me as if they miss the mark. Sometimes it's not clear until after the fact that a seemingly wayward choice had merit. And in Sunday's case, I can see why being at the musical was good, even as I doubt it was the greater good. Unless I go back to Scripture and trust God's bigger picture. 

So that's what I'm continuing to do. Pray, trust and try to obey. Live and learn. And give God the glory.