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The MAD Life: Episode 4

Today was a total Friday the 13th. Work was crazy, after work was crazy, lunch was a spoonful of peanut butter.

Due to COVID-19, events are being cancelled everywhere. When not trying to get the automated fields in the expense report to work or answer client questions, I was creating a list of cancelled or postponed events to share with clients and partners before leaving for the day. We also tried to figure out what to take home in case we would need to work at home Monday (which we will work from home for a while, but not starting until Wednesday).

Then I had to run home and take mom to a doctor appointment. We were late, but being late in the day, all was well. We got to watch what is now a fulltime job: wiping down everything in the check in and reception area over and over and over. We also got the 30 questions: have either of you (I’m the driver, not the patient) been out of the country in 30 days, been near anyone sick, flown in an airplane, etc. Honestly, I was glad to see both measures taken. I was just exhausted already, since I’d gotten back from a conference late last night and got up too early for work.

A thing that can be great about Alzheimer’s is that old things are new. A horrible thing about Alzheimer’s is that old things are new. When it’s a restaurant or movie, that’s a good thing. When she finds out for the first time (20th +/-) that she has Alzheimer’s, that’s a bad thing. It was a long evening with lots of questions.

I am grateful to sleep in tomorrow. I am grateful we kept her appointment. I’m grateful for a job where work at home is possible, while praying for all who do not have that option, and thankful for our medical staff and many other necessary careers that continue to go in person. At the end of the day, there is still something to be grateful for. And even mom ended up being grateful I was honest with her, as frustrating as the process remains.

Moral of the story: There are always going to be crazy days. But there are also going to be not so crazy days. (I would have said there are also lazy days, but at this age, I have to schedule that, which is crazy.)

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

The MAD Life: Episode 3

So mom doesn’t want her talking about her … but I can talk about me … and the migraines. My mom has always had a hard time calling them migraines. She tells people I have headaches, and she has a hard time explaining they are migraines. She was raised in the era of “migraines are all in you head”, so telling people that is what I have is like saying I have a fake disease. I think she genuinely knows I have migraines, so she may be trying to protect me from the judgement she associates with the disease.

Yet that is why I speak out. There is stigma with unseen diseases, such as my migraines and my sister’s epilepsy or Fibromyalgia and the wealth of unseen illnesses. When I hear people complain about someone who looks fine, and the assumption is that they are using a disability to gain government funds or a handicap services, I don’t understand how they can know what another person is facing internally, be it mind or body. Then again, I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt. Or maybe it’s knowing what it’s like to be judged for what is unseen for myself and my sister.

Because migraines and epilepsy are now more widely understood, I have a voice I would not have had a few decades ago. The treatments are growing. Doctors are interested and gaining knowledge. Help is more available than ever before.

I am listening to “Furiously Happy” by Jenny Lawson. She has mental illness and shares what life means to her with humor. I find it extremely relatable with migraines. She inspired me to go on with this series at least on the migraine side of this MAD life.

Migrainuers are a varied mystery to everyone in out lives, including the medical community. Our migraines differ from one another. Some symptoms of the head pain are that it is shooting through from one side to the other, only one hemisphere hurts, and one or both eyes hurt. Head pain can feel like … my head is being squeezed between two frying pans, squishing both ears; a small cannon has been shot through my temple and out the back of my head leaving a gaping, bleeding hole, but only on one side; a slow stabbing over and over going in a single quadrant; like peter rabbit is the size of a rhinoceros and is cartoon donkey kicking the top left or top right or top left rear, etc. of my head … with both feet … without ceasing; or like the ceiling is being lowered and crushing the top of my skull.

Migraines do not need to include head pain. We’re pretty sure now I was having tummy migraines from around 10 years old until 16. Then it started including head pain and nausea. Then all the fun started. I was diagnosed at 18, but I’ve had them much longer.

Our symptoms change over time and differ per person. Sometimes I won’t have the same symptoms for multiple migraines in a row. For me, nausea, head pain, and aphasia are my usual. To name a few of the other symptoms that run willy nilly: dizzy, vertigo (not the same as dizzy), fever, overactive bladder, painful joints, numbness in face or extremities, anger, the top of my head itches so that I look like a monkey with fleas, extra ringing in ears, depression, everything tastes and smells like tin, hair hurts, breathlessness on stairs or with increased activity, teeth ache, slow to think, jaw feels I’ve been in a boxing ring with a pro, smelling things that are not present, loosey goosey with the poopy, sensitivity to light, sensitivity to sound, sensitivity to smell, angry tum tum, swollen and throbbing eyes, tremors, extra stuffy nose, slow to think, and bitchiness. This is not an all inclusive list. I’m sure others who live with migraines can easily add to this list.

Then there’s severity. I am exceedingly fortunate that my migraines run the gamut of 0 to 10 on a scale of 10. Not having one is a zero. When I get them, I often straddle 5. If it’s 5 or less, I go to work. If it’s 6 or over, everyone is better if I stay at home because my thinker isn’t going to work much and I cannot be very productive. I hear others only ever have a 10. I am sick for them, because some of these people have those migraines nearly all the time. With a migraine of 5 or lower, I am able to use essential oils, reduced lights, and acetaminophen (generic Tylenol) as a few tools to go to work or stay at work. Or events, parties, church on Sunday. Whatever the case may be. I am not at my best, but I am not confined to bed.

That last one in the list of symptoms reminds me that although I do not have the traditional aura (others tell me this may include flashing lights or visual disturbance or smelling unusual things), sometimes a couple of other symptoms will show up before an explosion of severity occurs. When it comes to that last one in the list of symptoms, I never knew until my brother moved out that I was, in his words, “a bitch” the night before a migraine. He always knew when I had one, but he never said anything. I mean, who wants to use that word to describe their usually kind sister … who occasionally becomes a monster when pain is headed her way, but she doesn’t yet know about the freight train of pain moving into her personal space? He was NEVER wrong. However, had he let me know, it would have helped. I could have treated it the evening before. Now he doesn’t live here, and my mom thinks I’m usually an ornery cuss, so she can’t tell the difference.

In the last three decades I’ve tried medications in every single class of medication, acupuncture, acupressure, biofeedback, countless diets (gluten free, vegetarian, no dairy, blood type, etc.), massage, juices, vitamins, herbs, chiropractics, essential oils, and the list goes on. Acupuncture worked, but I couldn’t afford the frequency needed the first few months, and insurance doesn’t yet cover it in this country. I now have a cervical rhizotomy once-a-year, take one preventative medication daily, and one abortive as needed. This works for me. I have gone from no less than 20 days a month in migraine to typically only migraine with large temperature changes in the weather or precipitation (fog, rain, snow, etc.). This is a game changer for me. I can function most of the time!

I am so glad I did not have children. The thought of handing this off to them makes me ill. If I want children, I’d be glad to adopt, especially a child with migraines too. Although I’ve no idea how I could have cared for them, adopted or birth, much of the time. Keeping a job has been a delicate balance. Making commitments is really a guessing game, but less so having been through the flaming hoops of trial and error to learn what works for me.

The reason I make myself function is my sister Cheri. (Spell check just asked if I meant cherished, and I do cherish her greatly.) She had epilepsy,  but no one knew it until she got married because they were night siezures. As she got older, they got worse. Her life altered again and again until the seizures took her from us. She never gave up trying to find a way to stay active, be a mom, take care of her home, help her brother with the fruit stand, find that white knight of a man to love, keep peace in the family, and just get out of bed each day. I am now 5 years older than she was when she died. I wish there had been a way to take her pain and that disease out of her life. Since we couldn’t do that for her, I am glad she’s a treasure in heaven where she’ll never know another moment of pain.

Migraines have been a part of my world for nearly 2/3 of my life. At this point, it is who I am. Since they partially stem from arthritis at the top of my spin and the bottom of my skull, I don’t expect them to abate as I enter menopause. I know many women who found relief then. For some unknown but joyous reason, my dad’s stopped before his 40th birthday. I’m so glad that he never had them as frequently as I’ve experienced.

So, it’s a Migraine Life for me.

The moral of the story: We all have battles we fight. They are not all seen when a seemingly able bodied person gets out of a car from the Handicap spot at the grocery store and uses the Bridge card to buy groceries. I cannot judge that woman; she could well be me. We must end the stigma and assumption when reality shows us again and again the stigma is usually fiction. If we speak kindly to one another instead of judging from afar, we could see this up close and personal.

 
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Posted by on March 10, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

The MAD Life: Episode 2

I could do this because mom didn’t know about it. We keep her facebook account and email, but she doesn’t use them anymore. If there’s something fun or interesting, I share thatt with her. She still doesn’t know, but I will no longer be able to share about it.

Today is hard. She’s reading the book Alzheimer’s Action Plan. Since you can’t officially diagnose Alzheimer’s until an autopsy, she doesn’t understand why she has the diagnosis. I haven’t read that book, but the other materials I have read state that information followed by stating that the current testing for dementia in the living is quite accurate. She has had blood work, MRI, and many verbal and written tests. The results are clear. And if it isn’t Alzheimer’s, it’s very much a progressive form of dementia.

But do you tell her she has it so she’ll keep taking the medicine and getting help, or do you pretend that she doesn’t even though she’ll stop doing the things that help her? She doesn’t forget everything consistently. It’s like her brain is playing some random version of wack-a-mole with what she does and does not remember. It’s so random. Most of the time, she is cognizant, at least of the present. It’s not yet to the sun downing in the evening. Instead, the memory comes and goes willynilly any time of day or night. And it no longer matters if she eats well, gets enough sleep, or drinks enough water … the memory is going, and the ability to be independent as well.

I went with the truth, which meant printing her medical records again and explaining what the doctors and I and others see. It’s been a long day.

And now that she knows (she thinks for the very first time; it’s more like the 20th time), she asked that I do not talk with others about it. I think she thinks that when I shared what others have noticed, she thought I was speaking of since her diagnosis. What I was sharing are the things people noticed before diagnosis which led to seeing the neurologist. When people see things that worry them about her, they have come to me. They have done the same when I gave others cause about myself, they came to her. The things that have been noticed about mom were shared because they love her. That love has led to worry with the inconsistencies they’ve witnessed.

I am trying to honor her wishes in all things, so this is my final episode for now. Yet this impacts my life immeasurably, so I will share again. I live with her, so I have no genuine or regular escape. I don’t get to go home to my supportive husband and have time away on a regular basis. And work is not an escape, it’s work.

I will keep up all of the dementia support groups, seeing my therapist, and the like. I have learned that far too many of my friends have been through or are going through the same thing with their parents or spouses. That is why I wanted to share this: To know we are not alone and to learn from each other. I thank everyone who has been sharing with me your experiences.

With my migraines, I have found the greatest help from being full and open about them in every way possible. I wouldn’t have them controlled as well as they are today without having shared with others my pain, and I hope my experiences have helped others.

It is a heartbreaking and exhausting disease in so many ways. I have the added complication of trying to deal with my migraines, and friends have their own medical issues to manage while taking on a new disease with a loved one. Many also have children – the sandwich generation.

Moral of the story: While caring for those in need, keep up self care. You cannot care for others unless you are well cared for.

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

The MAD Life: Episode 1

I am Kim, and I have migraine disease. My mom is Jean, and she has Alzheimer’s disease. Together, our lives are both impacted by these diseases: Migraine and Alzheimer’s Disease. They make for a MAD life.

Mom and I do the best we can with what we have. Sometimes it is great! Most times we get by. Other times I feel like singing Miley Cyrus’ song “Wrecking Ball” at the top of my lungs … when I have breath to do so.

My diagnosis of migraine is 30 years old this year. Mom’s diagnosis is 2.5 months at this moment in time. We have more experience with mine, but mom’s dementia causes her to forget the reality of mine. That’s to be expected with hers, and it’s part of how we knew to get her checked out. To forget that my migraines usually include nausea, dizziness, fever, and severe sensitivity to light was an indicator to me that mom wasn’t herself.

This MAD life is a new exploration for us. I have a long history of trial and error in the process of learning what works for me. This random memory loss is a new venture, and it’s quite frightening, especially since the end result is not a solution, but the end of life. My migraines might feel like I’m losing the battle, but I have thus far come back each time. I am worse for wear, but not the likes of which that Alzheimer’s reeks on a life.

Alzheimer’s is not just forgetting names or places or dates. It’s forgetting how to order food in a restaurant, how to pay the bill with your credit card when it comes. It’s forgetting to brush your teeth and flush the toilet. Getting lost on streets you’ve known for 70 years. Mood swings in 5 seconds or less. Paying some bill’s twice and others not at all when your checkbook was once meticulous. Confusing things that you were just told:

Mom, I stopped at the grocery store and bought salmon and rice for dinner. I’ll fix it now. What vegetable did you want to go with it?

Five minutes later:

Mom, “What’s for dinner?”
Me, “Salmon, it’s in the oven.”

When it’s out of the oven:

Mom, “What’s this?”
Me, “Salmon, I made it for dinner.”
Mom, “Oh, I wish I knew you were going to do that, I’m not hungry.”

Asking the same questions over and over, not just in a single conversation, but from day to day:

Mom, “Why don’t I have insurance on my car?”
Me, “You do.”
Mom, “No, I haven’t paid it.”
Me, “Yes, you paid it last month, here is where you wrote it in your checkbook.”

An hour later, a day later, and the day after that … this exact conversation.

The hardest part is that she doesn’t want or understand the diagnosis. No one wants a terminal disease that slowly eats away at your mind and then your body. When she reads about it, she thinks she doesn’t have it because she doesn’t know that she asks the same questions over and over. She can’t remember conversations she forgot, and she remembers others that never happened. She no longer understands that calling the bank for her balance doesn’t include the checks written and not yet cashed out. She doesn’t relate the symptoms she reads about to what she doesn’t see happening in her life. That is ultra heartbreaking. That is painful to see.

I never dreamed my mom would get this horrific disease. She reads avidly. She worked on the farm, gardened, and stays active. Granted the active is not so much in recent years, but the reading is several hours daily. I always thought cancer would get us first, and with our family history, it was a toss up of me or her. But it is this.

This is Episode 1 of living with these diseases. There will be humor. There will be tears. Sometimes both every day.

Moral of this story: Do what you can with what you have where you are every day. Sometimes that is just getting out of bed, and that’s okay.

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

From Hell to Heaven in One Day

Last night didn’t go well. I got home after being away for four days to find that my youngest cat had been missing for four days. I was overwhelmed with grief and worry. I would have come home immediately if I’d known.

Last night involved searching the farm in the dark with a flashlight, walking through mud at moments, and crying while calling her name. This morning was more of the same after contacting some neighbors thru text and email. Today I went south and north of our home on the street. The neighbors I spoke with were all kind and said they’d keep an eye out.

One neighbor sent a text that there was a cat on the street in front of another neighbor’s home. I nearly fell over with hope when the neighbor with the cat by their driveway said that it wasn’t a color match. They had assumed it was one of my brother’s barn cats, but it wasn’t a match to them either.  I feel for whom ever loved that one.

When I made it back home, I created a missing cat flyer, contacted everyone recommended by Kalamazoo County Animal Services (KCAS), and followed all of the other posting recommendations.

I headed back out and went north this time. Two cousins/neighbors gave me permission to put boxes in their yards. I have the best of neighbors, some happen to be cousins, nephew/nieces, and siblings.

When I got home, I checked the garage for the umpteenth time, and I didn’t see her. but then I thought I should open it and put a cat box in there with food and water. I left and handed out missing kitty fliers to several veterinarian offices, the Shell gas station, the Library, a few on the counter at the Post Office, and to KCAS to make sure I’d filled out the online form correctly and to see their intakes. She was not there, and she was not in the garage when I got home.

Every half hour or so, after coming home, I went back to checking on those front and back yard crates. I’d also left the garage door open around three inches. About 9:30, when I turned on the backyard lights, a furry fanny that looks much like my kitty backed out and ran away from the crate! Oh, I was so hopeful. I turned off most of the lights, and stood there watching in the dark.

Soon I heard what could be her teeny, tiny mew, it’s more like a stuccato “ow”. But I couldn’t tell where it was coming from. That mew and I played Marco Polo with great success. I kept asking where Miss Poppy was, and she kept responding “ow”. Eventually, I found her cold, shaking, and wide eyed in a corner. She wanted me to touch her cheek, but to also not touch her. I moved things, and she kept moving away. So, we made sure the garage door was shut, opened the door to the house, and stood in the kitchen hoping she’d come in on her own.

A few minutes later, she came galloping into the house! It was a fantastic sight for sore eyes (really sore from worry and tears). We got a dish of food and water just for her, but she was too busy sniffing everything and being told off by her mom for scaring everyone. She was cold, damp, and stinky, and I couldn’t be more delighted to be her human.

She was born on the streets of downtown Kalamazoo, and I had feared her nine lives were long gone. Giving thanks to God, family, and friends for doing what they could to help, for offering to go hunting for her tomorrow, and for sharing her missing kitty flyer and posts. Based on her spunk, I hope she has a few more lives to go, because I think she could run through them more easily than most cats in my life. She and her mom are our youngest kitties, and we have fallen madly in love with these formally feral furry friends.

I have not had this experience before, and I prefer to never have it again. I’ve had cats disappear in my home for up to a day and a half, but never outside for more than a few minutes. My heart goes out to all missing a fur friend. I am so glad there are so many resources available in these situations. I am forever grateful for the kindness of everyone I met today, most of whom were strangers. Although I think I instantly bonded with the cashier at the Shell station, who is also a cat person, and said he’d be devastated if this happened with any of his kitties. He said he’d keep my kitty and I in prayer.

Now back to the business of letting people know to recycle the missing kitty flyers for Miss Poppy, aka Pop Pop or Pop Star.

Moral: Not everyone gets a happy ending. I have no idea why, and I wish it weren’t true. For now, I celebrate.

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Pastor with a Sense of Humor

Normally when life feels like it’s only in the fast lane, and I can barely breath thinking of all there is to do for work, home, and volunteering, I take a Sunday off. Not the next two!

For four weeks, Pastor Matt is preaching the real deal about some of our Sunday School lessons. He’s done Noah’s Ark and Jonah and the Whale. These are serious and hilarious. It’s also a walk down memory lane to childhood in Sunday School. I can’t wait to see what he’s doing the next two Sundays!

So, I am tired, I am overwhelmed, but I thoroughly enjoy the humor that happens in worship. Maybe I’ll see you there?

Sunnyside UMC (Website)
2800 Gull Road
Kalamazoo, MI 49048

We’re the ones with the big garden between Nazareth Road and Borgess Hospital on Gull Road.

Moral of the Story: Sometimes laughter is the best medicine for any ailment.

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Posted by on August 23, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

No Visible Wound; Fascinating Pain

12 days ago while in Boston, I fell magnificently on my right knee getting on a trolley. Super embarrassed to do so in front of my colleagues, and grateful for a good man who let me use his thigh to push myself back up. There is near no mark and no bruise and no gaping wound. But that’s not what it feels like!

My bed is high. When I forget about it and use that knee to get into bed, it feels like I’m ripping open a 2 inch gash. When I put that knee down to get off the floor, it feels like I’m crushing the knee cap. Super tender to the touch.

Then yesterday in church I knelt on that knee for prayer far too quickly. Owe!!!! My intended prayer became “Dear God, please help me get back to my seat without cussing and screaming in pain!”

I just keep checking, and there is only a teeny, tiny mark. How is it possible for so much pain to be so invisible? I guess it’s just like migraines. Very little outward sign, but inward misery.

Moral of the story: The body is a cruel and hilarious mystery to me!

My knee, so little bruising or scraps, lily white

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Two Good Men, One Lesson to Learn

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Our church had two funerals in the last five days for two very different men. Or were they so different? Both men impacted the life of our church and the lives of the people of the church. Both cared for us in their own ways. Both are blessings to have known.

Last week we held a funeral for Frank. I guessed his age between 45 and 70. He was right about in the middle. He was a man who had a number of mental health and physical issues. To me, he appeared homeless, but he wasn’t. He had little to live on, but he made the most of it. He could be rude, but his heart was in the right place. He asked a million questions and then asked them all over again and again, but he was listening. He listened more than he spoke, but I didn’t know it until now that he’s gone.

Frank knew us. He knew who we spent the most time with. He knew what we liked to eat and activities we liked to do. He knew our health concerns. This man often came across as confused because he would mix up our names and repeated his questions countless times, but he was paying attention.

So far as I know, Frank never rode the elevator. I saw him put items on it to go down to the Free Store, but he would go around and take the stairs. We found out the hard way that if we push the help button on the elevator and help comes, it’s a huge bill for the church. If we can find help in another way, we’d prefer to do so. So far, the button has only been pushed when other options were available or on accident. At last year’s church Bazaar, Frank came running to me and said, “some lady just pushed that button we’re never supposed to touch on the elevator!” Because he got help right away, we were able to divert the emergency assistance that was not needed because the button was pushed on accident. Yet Frank didn’t use the elevator … he knew because he was listening to us.

Frank was at the church daily. Sometimes it seemed he was under foot. Yet he often offered to help carry things for us. He loved coffee first thing in the morning, and many people made sure he had access to those first few cups of that morning elixir. He brought chocolates and doughnuts for birthdays and after worship gatherings. He badgered many for rides to purchase and turn in lottery tickets. He would bring hot dogs and pizza for meetings and activities. He gave us things he thought we’d like because he was listening to our likes and dislikes. He had little, and he shared much.

Frank started coming to Sunnyside about five or six years ago. At first, he stayed out doors on the bench and smoked his cigarettes. Over time, he came in to shop at the Free Store or to use the Loaves & Fishes food pantry. Eventually he was a volunteer at the Free Store. In the last couple of years, he would sometimes join us in worship on a Sunday morning. He found that we welcomed him, even when we didn’t want to. He found that he had a place, and we knew his name. He found that when he was away, we asked where he’d been. We have come to miss him when he’s not present.

I don’t know more about Frank because he was always asking us 100’s of questions about us or the activities of the church, and it was so exhausting that we didn’t get around to asking about Frank. Sometimes, we’d be honored with a story about him. Only in the last few months did I learn he was once married, and he didn’t often have kind words for her. But recently he shared some kind words about his ex-wife and a story or two. He opened up. Frank had become one of us.

Then there’s Vern. Vern was in his late 80’s and had surpassed his expiration date several times. He and his family have had ties to the church for decades. He was a well respected elder, and there remains much love for this kindest of men. Vern made it easy to respect him with his constant joy no matter his pains or difficulty breathing. The only thing that annoyed me about Vern was that he could find the good in any situation. You couldn’t complain to him for long, because he’d find a way to make you smile and even laugh.

I’ve gone to this church since I was a small child. Vern was there long before me. He was one of the many people at Sunnyside I looked up to and have attempted to emulate. This was true for many who knew him. He was a polio survivor and strongly encouraged parents to immunize their children. If he didn’t feel well, and you asked after his health, he would say, “I’m vertical.” He wanted a better world for everyone in his life, and he made it better with his constant and genuine positive outlook.

For decades he was a member of the church choir. Music brought him comfort and joy. Our church is blessed with numerous musicians who share their talents in the form of music therapy. Vern was glad to share their company and sing with them in these last few years. He even enjoyed not only the old, standard hymns, but also the newer music our younger musicians are bringing to the church. He knew beauty when he heard it, saw it, and lived it … and he made this world a beautiful place.

Vern was a staple at Sunnyside. When he wasn’t there, people asked after him. And in these last few years, he missed much. Yet the man bounced back from needing hospice care at least twice. He was a genuine survivor throughout his life on numerous occasions. Each time, he believed that God needed him still to share Christ’s amazing grace. And that he did without fail.

He found love twice, and we were blessed by the presence of these women at Sunnyside. He was married to his first wife for over four decades, and they brought each other much delight. She was sick in the end, and he cared for her with ceaseless kindness. A few years after her passing, he fell for his second wife. When they married, it was a ceremony during worship and they danced down the isle after their nuptials and provided a reception for all that included a disco ball and special lighting. She is now surrounded by our love as she grieves.

Vern was vital to our longevity as a longstanding member who helped to keep Sunnyside moving forward through the decades. Frank was vital to our longevity because he taught us to find kindness in unexpected places. Both men taught us to love as Christ loved. Both believed in us when we may not have believed in ourselves. Both men cared for us whether we noticed it or not. Both are now in the loving hands of God with no more pain in any way. We on earth grieve the loss of this remarkable men.

Moral of the Story: God gives us love in the form of people we meet in our journey. Sometimes those people vary greatly from one another, but the message is the same. Love One Another!

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

The Greening of Spring

Before Christmas, we “Green the Church” with Christmas things and pine branches and boughs. Yet today, I saw the beauty of the greening of Spring.

Just a couple of weeks ago the trees were still naked and gray. Everything looked gray.

But today the trees were fluffy and green! The leaves fill out the hollow spots. They take shape and make the trees appear if they’ve grown in height and width within just a few days.

I’ve never been one to love the spring, but today I may be a convert. The scents and colors of Autumn are my preference.  I used to only think of the mud and having to plant a garden in the Spring. However, today I saw the flowers blooming, the trees budding, and the sky shining with sunlight. The air is fresh with rain and sunshine.

Moral: Sometimes we see things we’ve missed seeing for decades, but it was right in front of us the entire time.

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

God’s Country is All of the World

I was listening to the radio on my lunch hour today. Normally I listen to an audio book when I drive, but I forgot to take my phone with me. The first song I heard had language something like this: I live here in God’s Country, this is God’s Country. Maybe I misunderstood, but it sounded like the singer believed that one piece of the earth is God’s Country. So far as I can tell, all of the world is God’s Country.

Be it the dumps where we put our trash to the gardens where we grow our flowers, or from the earthworm to the killer whale, or from the homeless encampment to the mansions of the wealthy, or from the small family farm to the castles in the mountains and everything in between, it is all God’s Country. From the ugly to the beautiful, from the sad to the happy, from the silent to the screaming, this is God’s Country.

And when I say “God”, I mean whatever source you believe formed the earth, no matter if you are a person of faith, agnostic, or atheist, this place is home to us all. There is room for us all. We are all of equal value. Our wealth or poverty, our positivity or negativity, our level of happiness or sadness … we were all created in love, by love, and for love.

May we not limit the world to small patches of places that are treasured. May we treasure all of the earth. It takes all of us with all of our abilities to make the world spin on it’s axis.

Moral of the Story: I hope I misunderstood the song. I hope they meant the world as a whole is God’s Country … because it is.

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Posted by on May 10, 2019 in Uncategorized

 
 
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