Ron is off social media for a while, but I want to brag on him.
Wednesday he called and asked me to schedule a sitter for Friday evening so we could go out with friends. (I have to schedule such things with the agency else he would have called.)
Thursday evening he listened while I spewed the ugly thoughts and feelings in my head all over him. Without responding in kind.
Friday morning, when I asked, he forgave me for spewing stuff that should not have been spewed.
Friday afternoon he took vacation time to study for his Saturday morning Bible study so he could be fully present Friday evening.
While home, he made a list on his phone of some of the things I had said were bothering me Thursday evening. Without my prompting. And he began working on them. Again, without prompting. (I walked by and saw what he was typing on his phone; he didn’t tell me about it.)
Friday evening, after dinner with friends, he took me to Home Depot to look at under sink pull-out drawers.
Saturday morning he cleaned under the kitchen sink to prep the stained and water damaged base for painting. He’s going to install a plastic liner before mounting two new pull-out drawers.
Saturday afternoon he is planned to check the bike I have not ridden in two years. Instead he spent hours working on a broken water heater.
Nope. No special occasion. No flowers. No diamonds. No chocolates.
But things more valuable to me during an ordinary week: making time for me; understanding I need a break and wanting to take that break with me; forgiveness when I’m ugly and not lovable; good food with friends; works of service fixing a small thing no one else sees but which has bothered me for a long time; and doing what he can to make it a little bit easier for me to do self care.
Yup. He loves me.
Something unusual happened today.
We’ve been married 36 years. That’s a long time. We are getting older. We’ve spent lots of time together. It’s easy to get used to things, to get used to each other.
Ron comes home for lunch a couple of times each week. I don’t know when he’s coming or what days he has meetings during the lunch hour so won’t come home. Often when he does eat here, I’ve already eaten or am gone when he gets home. It’s not like we plan a lunch date or anything. I don’t fix lunch for him; he eats leftovers or makes a salad. It’s not exciting, and he often uses that time to just chill. It’s time when he’s not on the phone and no one is demanding his attention.
Today I was out running errands and needed to ask him a question. I called but got his office voice mail; he was not in his office. As I pulled up the driveway a while later, I realized it was lunch time. “Ooooh! Maybe he’s home!” I thought.
I opened the garage door and quickly saw the garage was empty. I felt horribly disappointed that his car was not parked in his spot. My husband was not inside, sitting at the kitchen table eating lunch.
After 36 years. I was disappointed my husband wasn’t home doing something as mundane as eating lunch.
Marriage is hard work. It just is. To stay married and be happily married after 36 doesn’t happen without effort.
Today I got excited that my husband might be home because I have chosen over and over and over to love him. I have consistently made the choice not to think about what other options are out there. He is mine. I am his. For better or worse.
And I look forward to next time I come home to find his car in the garage at lunchtime.
I’ve debated about this post. But here goes…
I’ve seen at least eight friends post about all the people they’ve seen out and about the past few days. Pictures of cars in parking lots. Complaints of all the folks they see at the grocery store. Criticism of drivers on the roads. Each of these posts condemn everyone else not staying at home.
If you took the picture, saw the cars, or witnessed the people in the stores, you were not home either!! Those cars and people were not in your living room!!
You may have had a valid reason to be out. So may the other folks
Please, my friends. Especially you who profess Christ. Stop judging!! Stop condemning. Stop posting divisive comments. Stop acting as if you know better than all those people you are condemning while you are not staying home. You cannot know why they are out. You cannot know who is on their way to an essential job. You are not judge.
Why is it okay for you to be out, but not that single mom who has been to three stores to get what her kids need? They usually eat two meals a day at school. Now they are home. She may be trying to find healthy food she can afford.
Why is it okay for you to go on a run by yourself while your husband stays home with your kids but not okay for that mom to take her kids for a drive? Maybe her husband works at the hospital and is home trying to get some sleep before his night shift. How can you know why she is in her car with her kids?
Why is it completely wrong for that man to enter the store? The same store you just went to. Who are you to decide he is wrong to not use online ordering or curbside pickup? Maybe he’s there to pick up his insulin and needles. Maybe he has had trouble with his prescription and must speak to the pharmacist to try to clear things up.
What about the young woman who suffers from depression and anxiety? Is she wrong to go for a drive rather than isolating and falling further into despair? You can go for a bike ride, but she is wrong to go for a car ride?? Who made you judge of everyone else in your community?
And that family with eight people in the backyard? Do they live together? Did a young couple move home with their child after his job was considered non-essential? Have you asked them?
Yes, I am staying home. I am sheltering in place. So is our housemate. I only go out a couple times each week to pick up to go orders from locally owned restaurants. Trying to help them stay afloat.
My husband, however, is out multiple times each day. You may have seen his car on the road or in a parking lot. He may be one of those you’ve judged.
He drives to work every day. His company is considered essential. They make equipment used in hospitals. He drives to and from work. He drives home at lunch to avoid eating out. And to check on me. Is he “completely wrong” to be on the roads??
He does our shopping. He also has done shopping for other families. He went to the store multiple times this weekend to pick up food and meds needed by others. He tried to find a freezer for one family and a dishwasher for another. Of his three store trips today, only once for us. Tonight we drove to take dinner to one of his engineers who is working from home due to his wife’s health issues. Ron shops for supplies for the office so others don’t have to go out. Is he condemned for not doing curbside for all those others??
He also goes for a long walk everyday. Sunshine, exercise, and fresh air are vital for his mental and physical health. Should he be fined for following the local law which allows for outside exercise? Our property is on a road with no shoulder and no sidewalk. Should he be judged because he drives to the trailhead to walk on safe trails?
I do not know who is essential. I do not know why that person or this one is out and about. It’s not my job to judge. Nor is it yours.
As one friend said, we need to love each other through this.
I can’t go in to see E; all long-term care facilities are on lockdown. Only medically necessary visits allowed.
I can’t visit her, but I can brighten her day.
A local grocer had large bunches of flowers for $5. They were half price 3-7 pm on Friday. I bought six bunches.
A friend and I gathered a few dozen small vases. We washed them in hot, soapy water.
Then we took everything to E’s assisted living.
Tomorrow they are going to let 2-3 residents at a time come to the dining room to make a floral arrangement. The arrangements will be taken to the residents who never leave their rooms. Some arrangements will be placed around the common areas.
Next week I’ll try to find more small vases. And I’ll get more flowers.
Please note: I called the Activities Director first to get permission. Staff met me at the door to get supplies since I cannot enter the facility.
Caregivers/staff plan to collect the vases once the flowers die. They will wash the vases in the kitchen dishwasher then reuse them.
I had a wonderful day with E!
After fighting for a year to get family to let her live near me, she moved here in July. The transfer was hard at first. New apartment, new town, new staff, new friends, new routine. Then she broke her arm. The move is what she wanted, but it hasn’t been easy.
We’ve been trying to do little things – an outing here, some shopping there – to help her get more comfortable in her new hometown. She’s settling in and adjusting. She’s made a few friends at the Assisted Living and loves being near me and a couple of grandkids.
The transition hasn’t been as smooth as we’d hoped, but…
Today was wonderful!
We ran errands – post office, bank, and the tailor. We had lunch at our favorite place – Ronnie’s Burgers. We made two trips to Hobby Lobby for fall items. All 80% off! Then we decorated the dining room and set the table for lunch tomorrow.
I used my old placemats and napkins. The silver charger plates I bought on sale years ago. I hoped to get a few fun decor items to freshen things up. So we went shopping for bargains.
We found the center piece and burlap runner on the first trip to Hobby Lobby. But the table still needed something. 🤔🤔
We ran back to Hobby Lobby in search of napkin rings. E saw some with very tacky greenery, but they also had burlap and pine cones. E was sure if we cut the greenery off they’d be perfect. She was right.
Table runner – $1.20
Center Piece – $12.00
Napkin rings – $8.00
Spending the day shopping, laughing, and decorating like we used to – PRICELESS
I am thankful.
May you all have very happy Thanksgiving.
In the past couple of days I’ve received phone calls, messages, and texts from half a dozen women who need comfort, help, or love. Some of them I hadn’t heard from in months or years. I like them all. They are wonderful ladies.
Here is a conversation between my husband and me:
Me: It’s like God is doing something. Like he wants me to love and care about these women. But I suck at that.
Ron: Maybe God isn’t satisfied with you sucking at that.
Me, looking very dejected: Yuck! When God isn’t satisfied with me sucking at things, it’s usually painful.
Ron: It’s less painful depending on your obedience.
Me: Thanks, honey. You’re so helpful.
He was right. I know he’s right. Again. And sometimes I hate when he is right. I don’t like when I’m wrong and he’s right, but most times I’m grateful to have this man in my life.
My husband speaks truth to me, gently calls me on things when I’m wrong, and encourages me to let the Holy Spirit change me as I do the next right thing.
I am loved. I am grateful.
And in case you are wondering, yes, I do the same for him.
Day four of breathing treatments.
I don’t have asthma, but since a short bout with pneumonia ten years ago, when I get a respiratory infection I need breathing treatments. It rarely happens, but when I do get this kind of sick, it can be scary.
I have one now. I’ve had it since Sunday night. And yes, I’m on antibiotics and steroids.
Christmas morning started with a breathing treatment. The week has consisted of spending time with kids while trying to manage being ill and cheerful. Thankfully my kids are old enough to help cook Christmas dinner.
Each time I deal with respiratory illness and breathing treatments I think of my friends with babies who have to do this. And I pray.
Why do I pray?
Let me tell you about using a nebulizer to deliver albulteral to my lungs so I can breathe.
In the hour leading up to treatment time, my breathing becomes labored. It can be terrible to not be able to breath. My breath become raspy. It’s an ugly sound.
I have to set up the machine, preferably in a place where the noise won’t wake up those who are still sleeping. I attach the tubing and pour in the meds. Then I sit, taking deep breaths of meds. More steroids.
Each treatment takes 20-30 minutes. By the end of a treatment my whole body is shaking. My heart is racing.
My lungs open up and my body tries to rid itself of the infection. I cough a lot, sometimes to the point of vomiting.
I continue to shake. The shaking lasts for more than an hour. I am filled with a sense of anxiety and hyperactivity.
The steroids cause me to be constantly hungry. I want to eat everything I see.
The whole thing is uncomfortable but necessary if I want to breathe.
My point: I am a 56-year-old woman with the understanding of what’s going on and enough self control not to act on these feelings of anxiety, fear, hyperactivity, and constant hunger. I do give into the hunger at times, but I can manage my medications and give myself breathing treatments while everyone else sleeps. I take my meds as directed without help or throwing a fit.
So what does this have to do with praying?
Babies don’t. They can’t. Sick babies need an adult to help them take meds and do breathing treatments. They can’t do this on their own. They don’t understand why they can’t breathe or that the loud machine will help them. All they know is they don’t feel right.
Imagine what it’s like to be young mom who has a very sick two-year-old. A baby who can’t breathe without these kinds of breathing treatments. A baby who is acting out because they are sick and can’t breathe.
Imagine having a two-year-old needing these breathing treatments every two to four hours around the clock.
Imagine being a mom in the middle of the night trying to get your two-year-old to sit still long enough to breath in the meds while you wonder if this time he’ll end up in the hospital again.
Imagine having your child cough to the point of vomiting. You know the coughing is good as it gets the junk out of their lungs, but your child cries so hard while coughing you wonder how he can breathe. And then you have vomit to clean up.
And then imagine dealing with that same sick child for an hour after each treatment. Trying to help him calm down and get back to sleep.
Imagine how little sleep you and your child get each night. And imagine trying function the next day. Caring for other children. Caring for your sick child. Trying to be a kind human despite sleep deprivation and the fears that come with a sick child.
Then imagine being that same mom and having an older mom call to tell you she heard your baby is sick and she’s been praying for you both.
Imagine having her offer to bring a meal or to pick up your family’s dirty laundry to wash and fold and return by dinner. With dinner.
Imagine she offers to come play with the babies while their exhausted momma takes a nap.
Imagine she offers to pick up your order at Walmart or your child’s prescriptions at the pharmacy.
Or perhaps she offers to simply listen as you cry and spill your heart to her over the phone, knowing what you share is for her ears only.
Imagine the feeling of love that you, a young, exhausted mom, have knowing you’re not alone in this parenting thing. This older woman has offered to walk alongside you and help you.
Perhaps this winter, when we see posts by tired mommas with sick babies, we can do more than scroll by.
We can pray.
And we can offer practical help.
Perhaps we can love them and their babies by offering to wash some dishes.
I’m in Denver for a few weeks with a loved one. She needs my help right now. She’s been ill and is in a rehab hospital. I’ve been here four of the last six weeks. I’ll be here for weeks at a time the next few months. I am here by myself. This is going to be a long journey, one I’m privileged to walk with her.
As I walked down the hall a man with dementia was crying. A staff member kindly and gently asked him what’s wrong. “You can’t bring my son back,” he sobbed. I don’t know his history other than he is in rehab and has dementia. I don’t know if his son died or simply left for the day.
What I do know is that no one on earth can bring my son back. He’s gone. Five years ago tomorrow. I miss him terribly today.
Five years ago last Thursday, my stepmom and I were in Canyon to see him perform. We took him to breakfast and shopping the next day. She was with me the last time I got to hug him, to hear his laugh, to see his smile. Three days later he was gone.
I take comfort knowing we have a compassionate and loving Father. He knows our days. He hears our cries. He will one day wipe away every tear.
Oh! What a glorious day it will be when we join our loved ones before the Throne! Seeing Jesus face to face in all of His glory! To worship Him together with no more earthly sorrow!
I don’t write out the date must anymore. Most of us don’t. We rarely write checks or handwrite letters. Computers automatically enter the date where appropriate.
So when I typed in “May 2018” above, it struck me: I have known Ron for Thirty-Five years! Wow! We must be old!
I was twenty when we met. A junior at the University of Oklahoma. Ron was twenty-three and an engineering major.
Thirty-five years ago this week, I was visiting a friend, Greg. I lived with my parents about 45 minutes away. I’d not done well living on my own. I’d done all the stupid things sorority girls tend to do. Then I came to know Christ, really know Him and understand what it meant to begin to live a life in Christ. So I’d moved home to live differently. That morning I had driven down to Norman to hang out with friends including Greg and brought a few changes of clothes since I wasn’t sure what we’d be doing. Greg’s roommate hadn’t moved in yet, so my clothes were on the bed in that room.
A group of us spent the morning swimming in the apartment pool. Greg stayed down by the pool while I went to shower and change to go to lunch. (Guys can just dry off and throw on a shirt. I needed to rinse my hair or it would turn green from the chlorine.)
Just as I got out of the shower, Greg’s new roommate arrived and began unloading his car. Ron opened the apartment door with his key as I walked out of the bathroom wearing only a towel.
“WHO ARE YOU?” I asked in shock.
“I LIVE HERE! Who are you?” this very attractive man holding a piece of furniture asked.
I quickly got dressed while the roommates discussed the blond up in the apartment and the pile of clothes on the bed.
“She’s really great. A lot of fun. You’ll like her. You should ask her out!” Greg said.
“A lot of Fun, huh?” Ron commented.
The three of us spent lots of time together the next few weeks until Ron was finally convinced Greg and I were not an item.
Ron and I married that September.
Today is my husband’s birthday. Here are twelve things I love about him.
- He’s still as attractive as the first moment I laid eyes on him. A bit older with a few wrinkles but still as wonderful.
- He still likes to see me fresh out of the shower – even with all the stretch marks, gray hair, wrinkles, scars, and forty extra pounds.
- Ron’s hands. I’ve always loved his hands. He can fix just about anything with his hands, and, with a touch, help lessen my anxiety or fear.
- He loves me well, in good times and bad.
- Ron encourages those around him to better. Whether on our bikes, in the conference room at work, or in a Bible study, he encourages others to do better, be better, try harder, all the while letting them know he cares.
- He is humble.
- He is kind.
- He has admitted his need for help in overcoming issues in his life and readily accepts help from those who’ve walked the same path while reaching back to help others.
- His tenor voice still makes me want to sit on the floor and just listen with my eyes closed (or on a comfy couch these days) as I did when we first married.
- . He is quick to laugh. A belly laugh! He enjoys good humor and a good story.
- . Though not perfect, he is a good father. We both made many mistakes and we are both working to improve. Many men give up on parenting when their kids reach college age. Ron is continually working to be a good influence in the lives of our adult offspring.
- . He is willing to walk all the way around a sanctuary, if necessary, to be reconciled. (Read about the time he did just that.)
I am glad we met thirty-five years ago. I’m looking forward to spending another third-five years with this wonderful man.