Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Happies

I've mentioned before that my dear friend Erin calls good things in life "Happies." Today I'm getting my thinking straight and started out the morning belting out a new rendition of "This is the Day" to Addie--

"This is the day, this is the day that the Lord has made, that the Lord has made,
I won't complain, that I'm on crutches, and I'll be cheerful instead, I'll be cheerful instead.
This is the day that the Lord has made, I won't be a grump and complain all day,
This is the day, this is the day that the Lord has made."

It would be an understatement to say that yesterday I was a little crabby. Sitting in a recliner all day is only fun for one day, not five. And knowing that I have roughly 25 more was beating me down. So I decided that I've been having some stinkin' thinkin' and needed to talk myself into a good mood.

Besides, this is a good day! Chris called in reinforcements: my mother arrives this afternoon. Bless his heart, but he is tired! Working all day and then coming home to be Mr. Mom can beat a man down, and considering that this house has three children 6 and under, it's no piece of cake. These are the days when a few teenagers sounds good. At least they could go potty without my involvement!

As disconsolate as I've been, though, I've not been without a multitude of blessings. Brittani came and got my grocery list and debit card Sunday and spent the better part of her day shopping for us. I think her horizons were widened when she saw how much a family of five eats. And she's incredibly healthy; it's probably the first time she's ever bought chocolate chips and Diet Coke in one trip. Many blessings to her for doing my hate-job! She also gave me the gift of a tribute to my toe, which you can read at her site. She makes me laugh.

And Bridget? She's earned a treasure box in heaven for her service this week. She has come over the last two mornings with her two children and run my house for several hours. She swept, she vacuumed, she made lunches, she kept five children alive (four of them are 3 and under), and she did it all with a cheerful attitude. And to top it off, she's coming over this afternoon to make us dinner so my mom doesn't have to do it the minute she walks in the door. I have to stop and realize that I may be on crutches, but they're temporary, and I have the lifelong gift of friends who are priceless. Maybe we can have a crutch-burning party together in November.

The church has offered to watch all three of my children in their childcare center several times a week, and I've gotten flowers, chocolate, and an entire days' worth of help from my wonderful sister-in-law and brother, who swept in Sunday and saved my sanity. Dan got Caiden to ride his bike without training wheels, played basketball, baseball, and jumped on the trampoline. Janae took me to Michaels so I could get stuffing for my dotty chicken I'm knitting from Itty Bitty Nursery, and then we all crashed from exhaustion. Having them here on Sunday saved me from a few meltdowns.

So now my mom, who is recovering from a knee injury, is flying here to run my house until late next week. Bless her soul. I promised to teach her to knit while she's here, in a small token of gratitude. I really can't complain, with friends and family like that, can I?

From my armchair, I've been thinking a lot about handicaps and disabilities and other inconveniences. They range from minor and merely annoying (stuck on crutches for a month) to lifelong and affecting every area of life (paralysis, etc.) As much as I've tried to remember that this is in the "minor" category, I've struggled this week. I am constantly frustrated with my inability to do anything without crutches, and to be frank, I'm not great with them. I can't sleep well for fear of the pin sticking out of my foot getting tangled in the sheets, and trying to do the very basics of life is even difficult. I almost crashed into the bathroom wall this morning just trying to go out the door, and I thought about how humiliating it would be to call 911 from the potty. I wouldn't be the first, I'm sure, but I might be the maddest.

So last night, as I was dreaming of having the stupid pin pulled out of my foot and being restored to the land of the walking, I remembered a purchase I made back in August. We were at the Focus on the Family headquarters while on vacation, and on a whim I bought Joni Erikson Tada's autobiography, The God I Love. I hadn't started it yet, but I decided to pull it out today and start reading it. If there's anybody who understands not being able to be independent, it's her. Paralyzed from the neck down, she can only use her mouth. I read her first book, Joni, when I was a teenager, and I'm looking forward to reading her thoughts now that she has lived for decades in a wheelchair.

I've also had a little more time to read on the computer this week, and I realize I've been keeping some of my favorite blogs to myself. So here are a couple that really inspire me, in different ways, that you might enjoy:

Sarah Clarkson, daughter of Sally Clarkson (Wholeheart Ministries) has a blog called Itinerant Idealist. This is not light reading; Sarah is a deep-thinker. Her blog is the epitome of everything literary, theological, and ladylike, all in one. Her site makes me feel like curling up in a window seat with a mug of something hot and Wuthering Heights. When I read her writing, I'm transported back to college, when I was a creative writing student and spent my days steeped in Wordsworth and Annie Dillard.

Anna at Pleasantview Schoolhouse is a blog I discovered somehow a while back. She and her husband live with their five children in a converted schoolhouse, and she is a domestic genius. She sews, creates her own recipes, knits, paints, embroiders. You name it, and she does it. She sells some of her work on her etsy site, and I bought a skirt from her a while back. Oh, and she's also an attorney in her *spare* time. Her site has encouraged me to really throw myself into my homemaking, and I know my family appreciates it. Her son does all the photography, and it's beautiful. I told a friend recently to get a cup of something to drink and slowly read through Anna's archives. Her posts are short (unlike someone I know), and reading them is like taking time to breathe slowly.

Well, I'm still in pajamas, somebody is walking around in a stinky diaper, and I need to get it together before my mom arrives. No sense in letting her know how we're really doing. All I know is that I'm starting to have visions of washing my walls and caulking the bathtub and scrubbing the kitchen floor with a toothbrush. No, not for my mom to do, silly! For me, when my sentence is over. (I wonder if this is how Martha felt in prison?) I have the insane urge to pull out a bandana, some rubber gloves, and the Simple Green and attack my house with a vengeance, Aunt Barb-style. Let's hope I still feel this way come November.

Happy reading, friends!

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