Just What I Needed

“When darkness seems to hide His face, I rest on His unchanging grace. In every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil.”

Words from a hymn I’ve known since childhood. Words I’ve heard twice this week in a newer version of the song. The rhythms and melodies were new, but the words remained the same. A combination that evoked a much-needed sense of peace and rest.

The first hearing brought back memories. The second hearing brought the realization of just how much I needed to remember.

Yesterday, I received my second steroid spinal injection. I’m happy to report no fainting this time. Whew! However, it left me feeling anxious and restless. And though extremely tired, unable to sleep.

My evening became a cycle of panic, no sleep, and tears. The thought of my 5:30 A.M. alarm loomed. Followed closely by the thought of teaching school after only three-four hours of sleep. All I could think was, extra coffee!

My morning classes were surprisingly successful! Time with students and teacher friends seemed to help my energy increase. Even my fifth-grade class after lunch was acceptable. 😉

But then, my energy began to fade. I could feel myself hitting a wall. How in the world would I make it through physical therapy after school? For a few seconds, I considered canceling. After all, I just had that injection yesterday. Surely they would understand.

But when I got in my car, there was that hymn again. I smiled and began to sing along. On this second hearing, a new phrase stood out; “Weak made strong, in the Savior’s love.”

So I headed to physical therapy, my energy starting to return. A bottle of water and a protein snack pack may have helped a little. It helped my body anyway. But it was the music that lifted my spirit.

Therapy left me with a feeling of restored purpose. And though I walked away tired, it was a good tired. A tired that reminded me of the importance of taking care of my physical body.

All of this from the simple words of a new/old hymn. A hymn I heard twice in one week. Reminders of love, strength, and grace. Old words combined with new music to provide just what I needed.

Inspired

This past Thursday evening was a Parent/Teacher conference night at my school. I was assigned to help at an information table. As families entered the building, we greeted them, shared PTA/fundraiser/community information, answered questions and gave directions if needed.

When I arrived at the table, I was introduced to a woman who had volunteered to be an interpreter for the evening. She was a real go-getter. Friendly, reaching out to families without hesitation.

We chatted during the breaks, and I soon learned she was originally from Venezuela. She shared with me about her family and some upcoming reunion plans. Two of her sisters were flying in that very night! And another had flown in unexpectedly earlier that day.

She had tears of joy as she told me about the surprise. This would be the first time that her siblings had been together in thirty years. Thirty years.

Part of their reunion would include a 70th birthday party for one of the sisters. She smiled as she mentioned the photo album that they were compiling for the birthday girl. So many years of memories.

I got teary-eyed listening to her story. The thought of being separated from my family for thirty years…well, I have difficulty even imagining.

Our shift at the information table was over. I wished her well and said how I enjoyed meeting her. “Oh, I’m sure I’ll see you around here again,” she said. I smiled, “Well, I expect to see a photo of you and your sisters!”

On the drive home, all I could think about was talking to her again. She must have a story that needs to be told. I hope for the opportunity to know and share it.

The only word I could think of to describe how I felt after our visit? Inspired.

Stay tuned…

Thoughtful Gift

Sometimes the simplest things bring the most joy. And when they are unexpected, it is even better.

I am having some difficulty with my neck and left arm. A herniated disc seems to be the culprit. Activities such as playing the piano and typing are not helpful at this time. Of course, these are two of the things I enjoy the most.

A package came today. I had not ordered anything, so I assumed it was for my husband. He called after work and asked if I had opened the package. “No. I didn’t know what it was.” “Well, there is something in there for you,” he said.

What was it? An adjustable, 8-position, laptop desk. He knows how much I love to write. And that I prefer sitting in my comfortable chair or sitting in bed, propped up with pillows when I am writing.

Perfect timing. ❤

Writing helps me take care of myself. This desk will help me be able to continue writing while also taking care of my neck.

Tonight I am thankful for my husband, and this thoughtful gift.

Snow Day

Today was the perfect snow day. An announcement was made last night that there would be no school today. That meant no need to set an alarm!

The sound of sleet falling woke me up around 4:00 A.M. Of course, I had no trouble going back to sleep. Our dog, Poppy, was the next to wake me up. Her trip outside was quick, and it was back to sleep again.

Poppy’s little paw prints. 😉

Around 7:00 A.M., I decided to make some coffee. This time, snow was falling! The grass and trees were covered with a beautiful white blanket. After a hot bowl of oatmeal, another cup of coffee, and a check of the news-it was time to go back to sleep.

That is the beauty of a snow day. It is certainly not something I can do on any given day. But when the opportunity arises, I don’t pass it up. The truth is, I repeated this coffee/sleep/news process one more time. Minus the oatmeal, of course.

The snow is such a beautiful reminder of fresh starts. Everything gets covered. Given a chance to rest. In a sense, forced to rest. To put away the responsibilities and worries of the day.

Beautiful snow, beautiful trees.

Yes, they will still be there tomorrow. But the extra physical rest may be just what I need to approach them with a clear head. Perhaps see them from a new perspective with renewed energy.

But for now, it is still a snow day. And I think it is time for a nap!

On Second Thought…

This week I was reminded of my “word of the year” choice-strong. Hmmm…maybe I should rethink that choice.

The event responsible for my remembering? A steroid shot in my neck. I’ve been dealing with arm pain and weakness for several months. Doctors discovered a herniated disc and this was the first step in treatment.

Though I was anxious for relief, I was also anxious about the procedure. I was not quite sure what to expect. Communication from the doctor’s office indicated that iv sedation was standard. And I was fine with that.

Upon arrival, I was informed that sedation was an option but not necessary. It was, after all, only a ten-minute procedure.

I wish I could say my choice was easy, instant, and made with confidence. That was not the case.

Anxiety began to creep in. I knew I would function better in the long run without the sedation. But it was still a difficult decision. There may have even been some tears involved.

Thankfully, my husband, Gart, was there to encourage me. He reminded me of past experiences. Told me I was strong (there’s that word again). And told me I could do it!

I’m happy to report, I did it! However, right when the doctor said, “Ok. We’re all done,” I passed out. Pretty sure I had been holding my breath.

The nurses were kind, reassuring me that this was a common reaction. I felt much better once lying on my back with a cool cloth on my forehead. Still, I was a tad embarrassed. But at the same time, proud. And maybe even a little bit strong.

On second thought…maybe I will hold on to my word. After all, it represents a needed area of focus. And in this instance, it reminds me I don’t have to be strong all by myself.

One Simple Conversation

I recently ran into our youngest son’s fourth-grade teacher. I walked over to say hi and gave her a big hug. Immediately, I was overcome with emotion. Tears began to flow.

Talk about embarrassing. I could barely carry on a conversation. Somehow I squeaked out, “I want you to know how much I appreciated you as a fourth-grade teacher.”

She was gracious. And of course, asked about Ryan and what he was doing. I was happy to report on his success. 🙂

This was the teacher who offered such reassurance. Yes, he fidgets. Yes, sometimes it appears he isn’t paying attention. He’s a boy. But he doesn’t miss a thing.

Here we are nine years later. Ryan is nineteen and a freshman in college. He is studying 3D art and animation and is excited about internship possibilities. He has goals for the future but lives in the moment.

Seeing his former teacher reminded me of the power of encouraging words. Positive words from a teacher to a parent. Words from one simple conversation, over nine years ago.