In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Reacher

Last December, I got a sweet and tender gift from a friend one night.  He's one of the more faithful Walgreens shoppers I know in real life.  He buys anniversary gifts for his wife, birthday gifts for his friends and Reachers for his less able friends, like me.  Every time I use my trusty tool, which is about 600 times a day, I have to remind myself that I am only 39 years old.  I haven't ever taken the tag off of my Reacher.  It's like a prom dress that you are tempted to wear and when the night is over, you return it.  That's how I feel with the Reacher.  I want to be done using it and then return it, as if all of this never happened.  After all, I don't want to have something in common with the 100 year olds that are on that tag.  They look so happy using their Reacher, but every time I use mine, I am reminded that I can't do simple tasks, like casually pick up my clothes off the floor.  It would be nice if I could go back to my teenage years and not be bothered by clothes on the floor, but now that I can't just bend down and pick them up, I am suddenly irritated by my clumsy looking floor.

Here is the deal, though.  I'm ready to do some reaching of a different sort.  I don't know how long I will be in a decent physical state, but I want to get after it.  Feeling physically better, mixed with my new future with all my kids in school feels like an approaching starting line for some new endeavors.  Some of my endeavors are pretty simple, like actually using Groupons before they expire.  Some are a little more involved like possibly taking a stab at writing a book?  Some are more unmeasurable like wanting to tip the scale the other direction to becoming more a giver than a taker.  I also want to be loving my kids even bigger.  It's nuts how much easier it is for me to love big, when I'm not in pain. I treasure that more than anything.  However, the other day, I did find myself reading a blog of a woman who I have only met once.  She is dying of cancer and has four kids. Her blog is at Her words have carried me through the last year.  However, the other day, she was talking about loving her kids big every minute and I was so inspired to do the same as if I knew my days were numbered, but then my kids interrupted me while I was reading this post and I was all irritated with them.  Whoops!  I got off to a pretty rocky start there.  One thing I won't be reaching for is anything athletic, as my serious athletic pursuits are looking shaky these days.  Which brings me to just a plain old physical update.

I am nearing eight weeks post surgery.  My pain level is really pretty good, but on some nights and some afternoons, my nerve pain will rear it's ugly head and I will shoot into high anxiety mode.  The pain is nothing compared to what I have endured for months and months, so it's not the pain that is bad - it is the reminder that this healing could make a U-turn at any minute.  The strength in my leg is a little iffy still, too.  If I were a ballerina, I would be in trouble, because I can't quite go up on my toes with my left foot, yet.   And, my foot still feels like someone sewed a few acorns into the bottom of it.  As long as I wear a highly cushioned athletic flip flop, life is just fine.  Hopefully, that sensation with cease, before flip flop season is over.  Someday, I will most likely be back in the operating room for a fusion, since they removed almost my entire disk, but the doctor says that will likely happen anywhere between six months and never.  I was thankful that he cleared that timeline right up.  Backs are just plain unpredictable.

These days are a good exercise in living for and in each day.  I am continually reminding myself to appreciate this very moment and reach for the next . . . with thanksgiving for the last!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


When I was in tenth grade, my dad and I, took a trip around Colorado - motorcycle style.  Even though I wasn't cool, I felt pretty cool on the back of my dad's Honda, with my shiny helmet, Keds and french rolled jeans.  One thing that I secretly loved about that trip, was that every time we would cross another motorcyclist, be it a rumbling crowd of Harley riders or a retired couple on their Honda Goldwing, we would casually raise our hand, as if to say, "Yo! We've got something important in common.  Ride on fair friend."  The only requirement to be a part of this club, was that you were taking the road by hog.  I remember getting a bit giddy each time a new motorcycle would approach.  I told myself, "Be cool. Be cool."  I would casually raise my arm and none of them knew that underneath that helmet was a pretty average 10th grader, toting my teenage gear of Noxema and Carmex.  That brings me back off the open road and into real life.

I was born wanting to be a part of a club.  I grew up under the gentle guiding of two highly trained, "Love and Logic," parents, so I had many choices in life, including in what clubs I choose to enroll.  I was in sports, Girl Scouts, choirs, youth group, newspaper, a sorority of sorts, post college singles group (of which I was a card carrying member for many, many years) and the list goes on.  Basically, if there was a group of people, I wanted in, no matter what skill set was required.  

In the past two years, I have found myself ascribing to a new set of clubs and teams that I don't exactly appreciate. It is one of the first times that I would love to unjoin a club.  The clubs I want to exit are not the kind where we have written agenda, a common goal and matching T-shirts.  They are the clubs that change you.  And it doesn't tickle.  I feel like I could use the same cool motorcycle arm raise to anyone in these clubs and a world of words would have just been spoken.  Anyone, who is a single parent just knows the strain.  Anyone who has lost a spouse, just knows the unexplainable of it all.  Anyone, who has been through an unrealized adoption, just knows the years it took from your life.  Anyone, who has entered the world of disc problems and back surgery just knows the pure physical pain and fear of never being normal again.

I am sure I've learned a lesson or two through being thrust into these clubs.  I am positive my faith is sturdier.  Not because I haven't questioned and I haven't doubted, but because I have.  I am confident that I treasure each day WAY more than I ever have, yet I look forward to heaven WAY more than I ever have, too.  I am positive my compassion for others in these situations and in general has increased tenfold.  I am certain that I am so desperate for people to know Jesus, because I am convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that He made it possible for me to withstand the hazing of these clubs.  I am sure that being a member of these clubs is God's best for me.  For every inch of me, I do not know how that is true, but I believe it is.  I know that may sound nuts, but if I believe the Bible is true, then I believe He loves me and works for the good of me.  I seriously do not want to really believe that, because I want there to be some other equation where I love Him enough for life to go well and comfy for me.  That is not the case in God's economy, though.  But His economy is amazing.  No matter what happens, what clubs I join, good, bad, hard, easy, wanted, unwanted, He is there through it all.  Nothing I do, can change that.  

I bet there are a lot of people out there who are members of a club in which they never thought they would be a card carrying member.  Can I get an amen?