Monday, April 29, 2013

Being Thankful

It's been two weeks since I've written. Every time that much time goes by between my writing sessions, I become more convinced that I probably should never be a writer as a full-time job. If I don't have inspiration, I don't write.

Tonight I don't have much inspiration. But I really miss writing. So we shall see where this post goes.

I'm sitting here on the back deck of my parents' home, my golden retriever laying beside me, my baby sister chatting my ear off, and my MacBook on my lap.

The breeze is getting cooler after a delightfully warm spring day.

Slippers are keeping my feet warm and my favorite hoodie is providing its usual comfiness. 

Sandhill cranes are calling to each other.

Many other birds are chirping and singing.

The trees are blossoming and the grass is bright green.

My nutritional shake is on the table and I'm reminded how thankful I am for these new products that have been introduced to me in the past few weeks. 

(And if you want to hear about them and the great weight, health, energy, and performance benefits, please contact me.)

Each day and each week is filled with its own challenges and yet there is so much for which to be thankful.

When overwhelmed with sadness over my grandfather's mental decline and the tremendous burden that is to my grandma and my dad especially, I'm reminded to be thankful for the example of faithfulness in marriage that my grandparents are to me. I hope I never forget my grandma saying through her tears, that when she vowed "for better for worse, in sickness and in health", she meant every word. 

When filled with fear at the thought that Dad could have another heart attack at anytime, I'm reminded to give thanks that God spared his life during his first one three weeks ago.

When concerned about finances, I'm reminded that God has always provided for every need, no matter how big the bill or expense.

When deeply concerned about struggling family relationships, I'm reminded to be thankful for the Christian family in which I grew up, a family free of divorce, and filled with God's Word.

When discontent with my current living arrangements, I'm reminded to be thankful for a safe home to live in right now and for some time living in the gorgeous countryside. 

I read Philippians two yesterday while I was laying on a blanket soaking up the sunshine. The whole  chapter is convicting, but verse twelve jumped off the page.

"Do all thing without complaining and disputing."



One of the biggest secrets I've discovered to not complaining, is being thankful.

If I'm noticing all the things I have for which to be thankful, filling my mind and heart with praise and gratitude, there isn't as much space for negative attitudes and thoughts.

My view while I typed.
(A friend pointed out that better music selection would help with my writing. I happened 
to snap the pic when that's what was on my screen for the brief bit that I was listening to that song. :P)

It's now almost 9:00pm. I took a break from writing and went for a walk/run with my baby sister and pooch. Such a gorgeous evening to work out outside!

Tomorrow is another long work day so I must sign off. 

Thank You, God, for all Your kindness to me.

Here's to a complaint-free tomorrow!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Post-Heart Attack Scribblings

It's been one week now since we almost lost my dad to a heart attack.

And when I say almost, I mean his heart stopped pumping and they had to shock him twice to bring him back while he was being med-flighted to Madison.

I've wanted to write about this all week. I've thought about. I've wished I could write. 

But I'm still processing all the emotions, all the what ifs, all that transpired in those few short hours. 

The phone call from my sister that made me crumble to the floor, sobbing harder than I knew I even could.

The prayers and hugs from my pastor and church family who "happened" to be near me at the time.

The myriad of phone calls to family and friends.

The ride to my parents' house to pick up my younger siblings.

The eternity-long drive to Madison, not knowing if he'd be dead or alive when we got there.

The walk across the skybridge to the cardiac elevators at the hospital.

Finding my mom and other siblings in the cardiac ICU waiting room.

Hearing that his heart had stopped pumping but that they were able to bring him back.

Waiting for the cardiac surgeon to come out and talk with us.

The arrival of my family's pastor and some of my parents' closest friends.

The cardiac surgeon coming out and telling us how "lucky" Dad is (and we are).

The questions and answers.

More phone calls.

News that Dad had been moved from recovery to his ICU room and that all EIGHTEEN of us could go in and see him.

Walking in and seeing his face and hearing his voice.

The HUGE circle of family and church family surrounding his entire bed and absolutely filling that ICU room.

The circle of prayer.

The tears.

The laughter.

The squeezing of his hand and getting to kiss him on the cheek.

The running around of our friends to get us supper at 11:00pm.

The figuring out what siblings would stay in Madison with Mom.

The long drive back home in the wee hours of the morning.

The trying to fall asleep.

The waking up after way too little sleep and instantly beginning to receive and handle all the phone calls, texts, emails, etc.

The extreme emotional and physical exhaustion.

The outpouring of love and food from friends and church family.

The drive back down to Madison to see Dad again and bring supper to the family members that had been there all day.

The trying to get back to normal life after almost having our whole world shattered.

The shaking up, the wake up call, the fears of knowing this could happen again.

This is what I'm trying to process. 

And I'm learning I need to patient with myself and allow this process to draw me closer to my Savior and to my family.

We sang this song during worship this morning and it made me all teary.

In the mean time, I'm just so thankful.

Thankful that I still have a father on this earth.

Thankful for the incredible love and support our family has received over the past seven days.

Thankful for Tom & Amy, Mike & Robyn, Greg, Sarah, & Isaiah who came down and were with us that night in the hospital. It meant the world.

Thankful for Subway pizzas at 11:00pm.

Thankful for doctors and nurses who God used to save my dad's life.

Thankful that his heart didn't stop pumping before he got to medical care.

Thankful for the dozens and dozens and dozens of people praying.

Thankful for so many moments of laughter during this week that could have been the most tragic and tear-filled of our lives.

Thankful for all the food that has kept my family fed this past week.

Thankful to go to worship with my family and hear the testimonies from last Sunday night from the perspective of both my dad and our friends who were with us that night.

Thankful to hear my dad's voice during the praise and worship time.

I'm just so thankful.

So I'll continue to work through the emotions, continue to learn to trust God instead of living in constant fear of the next heart attack, continue to count the innumerable blessings in my life and be thankful in all things.

God is so good.