Monday, March 30, 2015

It beats the alternative, part 2

I'm at that stage in life where I pay money to find out I'm OK even though I'm not as good as I once was or would like to be. 

Less than a month after my eyes got excellent reviews during my mostly routine visit to the optometrist, I was visiting an opthalmalogist to find out the source of some flashes and floaters I began experiencing midway between those visits. The conclusion after tests that will cost me about $200 (toward my medical deductible) is that I have a posterior vitreous detachment. 

The good news is that it isn't a retinal tear or detachment and probably won't become one. The frustrating news, part 1, is that I have to get rechecked, again with dilation, in about a month anyway.  The second part of frustrating is that the doctor says even though this diagnosis probably won't turn into anything serious, it is unlikely my eyes will get back to where they were two weeks ago.   

In other words, it's just a part of aging. 


After that appointment, I stopped by two other medical providers' offices to get information I needed to finish filing claims for my flexible health expense account, for which the claims period ended March 15 and the filing period ends tomorrow, March 31. Procrastinator that I am, I was feeling good about finally  getting all of these issues  resolved. 

But when I returned home and logged on the claims site, I noticed some of my most recent claims had been denied. After a lengthy time on hold, I learned I'll probably end up losing significant unused funds in the account. 

Progress is that in my frustration, instead of just sitting and sulking, I went for a walk and prayed and counted my blessings. 

I'm grateful that miscalculations in my flex account won't mean I can't afford my next meal or tank of gas or medical expense, even though it does mean I had unused funds in the account that are forever lost to me. 

I'm grateful that I have insurance, a job and money that allow me to get my concerns about my eyes and other issues checked out. (My former tendency was to self-diagnose and seldom seek a medical opinion, and it is tempting to revert back to that, especially as my checkups come back negative. This is still a confusing area to me.)

I'm grateful that praying on a late afternoon walk on an early spring day can change my heart and attitude. 

I don't know where the unused funds in that health account end up, but I can  write them off as the price of learning -- if I don't repeat the mistake that involved a good dose of procrastination. (I waited until the last minute to file all the claims, instead of filing them as the expenses came in, in which case I would known there was a problem.)

In all these things, what happened beats most common alternatives I can think of. 

And there is one other bright and interesting aspect. For me to come up short of using all my flexible health expenses account meant 2014 was a good year healthwise. But less than two weeks after that period ended, I'm already tallying unexpected expenses for 2015. 

My hope and belief is that some of this -- especially the quicker rebound in my attitude -- will push me toward more healthful and productive choices. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

It beats the alternative

It beats the alternative, I remarked to a colleague recently as I wrapped up a summary of my pains and nuisances of aging. 

But later, I caught myself. Does aging really beat the alternative  for a person of faith who believes in a heavenly hereafter with God the Father?

What I realized is that, for a person of such faith, it's a win-win. Both alternatives are good when my focus is on loving and serving and trusting God.  

Where he leads me I will go ... 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Checking in

This is just a quick check-in. Without really even trying, I made great progress in following through on some of my intentions in the past week. Gifts for children; visits and calls to people I've been thinking of; and saying "yes" to requests for service or assistance from friends led the way. I became aware of another opportunity today. I don't want to let it pass by. Even amid some pesky little health concerns, God has paved my way for service, compassion and gratitude.  I just need to be willing to step out in faith. Seek God. Trust God. Honor God. Love God. Obey God. Thank God. Praise God. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Birthday blessings -- and a vow

I wish I could respond to everyone who wished me a happy birthday. I feel so blessed. 

Even though my husband is out of town (and sick, on top of that), I had a very good day. Most people go out for dinner for their birthday to fill up, but I went to the dentist to get fillings. (I would not have done that had my husband not been out of town.) Since I left work early, I wasn't there when the beautiful yellow roses my husband sent arrived. But a co-worker took a picture so I could see them and share on Facebook. I look forward to going to work tomorrow to enjoy their fragrance. 

The dentist visit went quickly, smoothly and with amazingly little discomfort, and then I went shopping, followed by a walk around the neighborhood pond.
I especially enjoyed God's gift of gorgeous weather -- sunny, warm and calm -- perfect for that walk and top-down drives. 

I was hoping the deadening would wear off in time for choir practice, and it did. I ended up being serenaded 3 times, including over the phone  by my brother and his family (OK, make that his family!!) and face to face by the Goodrich church choir. Since I'm attending a different church much of the time now, I don't go to the Goodrich rehearsal regularly. Going tonight was a gift to myself. Plus, I did think they would probably sing to me, and I love to hear them sing. I love to sing with them even more -- even when we are just rehearsing. Ending with The Hallelujah Chorus was a nice cap to the night. 

 But enough about me. Starting tomorrow, I MUST start focusing less on self and more on others. Please help me, God!!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Amazing gifts

The first week of March began and ended well. Even the dangerous, snow-slick roads on Wednesday don't seem that bad looking back, although the drive was no fun at the time. Well, now that I think about it, I know hindsight really is marvelous. Did last Sunday seem all that great at the time when snow canceled church? But my outlook was good then despite less than desirable conditions, and it apparently carried over. 

Meanwhile, this weekend just ending was one of those amazing gifts, when prayers were answered in a most gratifying way as family was able to gather for a bridal shower. We trust that God is with us and in control whether the mother of the bride would have been able to attend or not. But after some recent trips didn't work out so well due to her complications from cancer and treatment, the success of this one was all the more precious. It required 
her acting on faith that God would see her through. We prayed she would know, and apparently she did. I feel the family really treasures the presence of each person who is there and sincerely is aware and misses each one who is not able to be. It's interesting that when the 25 gathered for lunch at a restaurant we didn't pray (unless I missed it; I was late) -- but we had all just come from church, and I know I felt the awareness of God's grace as we dined. 

Besides the absence of the ones unable to attend, the hardest part of these times together for me is when we all go our separate ways. That takes faith, too. 

The weekend also included the change to daylight saving time, aka the time when we "spring forward" an hour, which for many of us translates into a lost hour of sleep that won't be recouped until late fall. I feel the disconnect already -- it seems like it's about 9, but I just looked at my watch, and sure enough, it's almost 10. So, it will be another few days of transition. 

And again I say: bring it on. 

God is in control. I am grateful. Great is His faithfulness.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Just like that!! (I blinked, and it was over)

I blinked, and February -- with all its work transitions, weather and some last-minute health concerns -- was over. It's amazing the difference two fewer days in a month can make in allowing the next month sneak up on a person. 

I'm not sad to see February end. Much was good, especially the transition at work from our suburban tower to a downtown box. All of the things that are less than wonderful to me -- the coldness of the office; air that often smells like a bar (even though it's a no-smoking venue); and parking that still tosses surprises at me every day or two -- are far outweighed by the improvements, such as the furnishings and layout of my desk,  the shorter drive and the overall vibrancy of the new building  and its venue in the heart of downtown. The outside temperature has also been cold most of these days, so I've yet to go out and enjoy the big park across the street or just reacquaint myself with downtown. But there will be plenty of days ahead for that (God and bosses willing!).

The health concerns involved my mom in the final week of February, and all is well now. But in the midst of the work changes and daily weather watching that kept any day from feeling normal, her time in the hospital was more unsettling to me than usual. The good news is that I prayed and asked others to pray -- and that helped me rely on my faith. And ultimately the prayers were answered with her return to health and home. I know that won't always be the case -- but I thank God that once again it was. 

And now it's March. Both churches I attend canceled services today due to expected snowy/icy conditions, but I worshipped online, led by a co-worker who is a bi-vocational minister. For many reasons, that was a good experience for which I am grateful. Lent continues through March, leading up to an early Easter on April 5. My Lenten disciplines have presented some challenges, especially the partial fast last Friday. But on the snowy, mostly stay-at-home days of this weekend, the readings helped keep me grounded. 

March is the month of spring's official start, but first comes the time change -- springing forward an hour next weekend. It's also a time for bridal showers and birthdays and hopefully more warm and sunshiny days. 

I'm ready!!