Sunday, June 19, 2011

Project 365, Week 25

I'm missing a chunk of this week but still managed to have six photos to share for Project 365 :)

Last Sunday we spoke at New Fellowship Baptist in Grand Rapids, a church plant currently sharing a building with several other congregations, including one hispanic group. (The different groups stagger their meetings throughout the week.) Good friends of ours were called there after "retiring" two years ago. We always have such a wonderful time with Brother Starlon and Sister Diane! After the afternoon meeting they took us out to eat and we talked. And talked and talked...
We so appreciate their years of experience and sound counsel.

Monday we headed to Indiana. We stopped and saw what remains of Mike and Rita's house...
...which isn't much! Ivan and I were amazed that they were able to salvage anything, but Rita is thankful that many of those irreplaceable items, like photos and letters, were saved! I'm sure she will have much to share when her life settles down a little and she is able to get back to blogging.

We spent the night with their oldest son and his wife AND enjoyed one of the famous Monday night meals. YUM! Cuisine from North Carolina was featured and we chowed down on Hoppin' John, spoon bread, salad (with fresh greens from their garden) and Blondies for dessert. A wonderful "last supper" before my surgery the next day :)

Okay, maybe everyone knows about these but they were totally new to me...the hospital has special gowns now with a place to plug into a wall unit with a hose that supplies warm (or cold) air as needed. You know I had to try it out, and had way too much fun with the device which inflates the gown in the process... reminded me of Grosse Point Blank when the secretary described attending her 10 year reunion and how everyone had "swelled". Remember that scene?

Okay, no photos for the next three days. Sorry but I'm sure you understand :)

Actually surgery went well (except for the excessive amount of anesthesia which made me sicker than a dog) and the neurostimulator is doing it's job. I'm still trying to find the optimum setting, however, as some toe-twitching continues. Which Ivan thinks is hilarious. I also picked up a cold at the hospital and am honestly suffering more from congestion and a persistent cough than I am pain from surgery. Go figure :(

Saturday morning a group of friends got together at the church to bake cookies for Kyle and Tina's upcoming reception. We blasted through I don't know how many dozens of cookies and had a great time in the process. I took a photo at the beginning...
...but more ladies came later and I never managed another big group shot. But I did get one of the "young'ns", girls who were in youth group together a few short years ago and who are now such lovely young women (the two on the left are both expecting their first babies in early October):

Today we were in our home church where Ivan and Tito shared about the ministry in Argentina, and Ivan preached from Psalms 67. I think it was good for the people to hear about what God is doing overseas, before a number of them headed out for a week-long mission trip right here in the U.S., in inner-city Chicago. Here are the guys loading the trailer with materials, food stuffs, sleeping bags and all manner of items needed for the group of around 50:
Our church is a little different in that mission trips are planned so that whole families can go if they want. This trip there's a mix of families and parts of families, as well as individuals, who are going.

Well, we're gearing up for lots of traveling in the next few weeks so I won't be back until July 9 with the next P365 post, although there might be the sporadic midweek, meandering post :)

Friday, June 17, 2011

I'd forgotten the holiday hype

I don't think it's a case of early Alzheimer's, but merely that I've been focused on other things for the past three years...whatever the reason, I'd completely forgotten the hype in the U.S. for

Take Father's Day. Don't take me wrong, I LIKE this holiday. I think dads deserve a day to be honored and pampered. But you'd think it ranked right up there with Christmas or Valentine's Day with the flood of television, print and internet ads we're bombarded with on a daily   hourly   pretty much constant basis.

I hope Ivan won't be too disappointed with his reality version of Father's Day. In the morning he'll be preaching and sharing at our home church along with our co-worker (who is also in the U.S. on home ministry). I'll make a nice lunch and then I hope he has some time to rest in the afternoon. He's been pulling double duty around here this week while I heal from surgery, doing both the cooking and cleaning.

Then again, I'm pretty sure Ivan hasn't given a whole lot of thought to Father's Day, because he realizes on a daily basis how much our kids love and honor him. While a day dedicated to fathers is nice, how much better to have children who honor their earthly AND heavenly father when they obey the command in Ephesians 6:2-3.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I'm Wired

That phrase evokes different responses in people.

(A) Some might think it refers to how God made us... "I'm just wired that way."

(B) For the younger generation, they probably assume it has something to do with technology.

(C) And if you're accident prone, maybe the first image in your head is someone with their jaws wired shut.

(D) For me it's none of the above. It just means surgery went well, the device (i.e., wire and battery) implanted and functioning. 

I am pretty ouchy still and likely to be so for a few days. It makes sitting or laying down a little challenging.

The worst part was no doubt the anesthesia, of which there was waaaaay too much. I warned them. I truly did. But they always think they know so much more than us non-medical peons. Of course it doesn't affect them, so what do they care? It took a sweet forever to come out of it and I was sicker than a dog for hours, unable to even keep water down. Not fun.

The original prescription for pain meds did not sit well with me either, even though I only took half of one with breakfast before we headed back to Michigan. Not being a fan of the nausea and vomiting I asked the doctor's office to call in a different prescription, one I have used in the past with decidedly fewer ill effects.

Thanks for praying and please continue to pray as the incisions heal and I figure out the proper adjustment for the device. The original setting caused the toes on my right foot to twitch every time it activated (on 20 seconds, off 8 seconds) which I don't think is a desired outcome. Made for an interesting drug-induced, nausea-filled, toe-twitching night though. I'm surprised I didn't have any weird dreams but that's probably because I really didn't sleep very much. But that's about to change. I am preparing to get comfortable with an assortment of pillows all around me and catch up on some of that lost sleep.

Hasta manaƱa...

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Project 365, Weeks 23 & 24

Many are already aware that Mike and Rita's house burned yesterday; Rita shares their story on her blog today. Please continue to pray for them.

As has been the case too often of late, I am again posting two-weeks-in-one for Project 365. And with all the weekend traveling we'll be doing in the coming months, this is likely to continue happening unless I get on the ball and start posting on Fridays.

Memorial Day found us at one of our favorite places: Wally and Katie's front porch.
We enjoyed a fabulous brunch and went back later in the day for barbecue. Despite not having power for about 24 hours, they were welcoming and gracious as always.

Ivan's mom really enjoys playing "Words With Friends" on her iPad. She always has a number games ongoing with various children and grandchildren. While we were there a few days, she and Ivan played a few rounds. Ivan totally creamed her in one game, by scoring words like this one:
The very next round he scored a word worth over 60 points. But mom doesn't get too discouraged and just challenges him to another game!

Near my BIL's shop there's a car wash with this interesting side business:
Ever seen anything like this before? Cracked me up the first time I saw it :)

We stayed with Mike and Rita the night before I went in for the trial treatment. I don't know what was making Ivan laugh so hard, but it might have been one of his puns (he loves 'em!).
In looking at this photo I see things that have value; some monetary but even more that have sentimental value. I'm praying they are able to salvage the things most precious to them.

After going to the doctor's office, I had to go over to St. Vincent's for my pre-op interview. In the lobby were these gorgeous art quilts hanging above the information desk.

The trial treatment consisted of temporary wires being inserted into my back that touched the nerve which communicates between my brain and my bladder.
The wires you see were connected to an external battery pack that clipped to my waistband. My surgery this coming Tuesday will involve the permanent implantation of wires and a small battery into my back. I'll have a remote device to control the battery. Isn't it amazing what they can do these days?! Although Interstim was designed primarily for those suffering from overactive bladder, it has also proven effective to treat those with my condition: painful bladder syndrome.

On a walk we passed this sign. Can you spot the mistakes?
We're guessing that English is not their first language.

Last Sunday we presented our ministry at a supporting church in Charlotte, Michigan, but we spent the whole weekend with dear friends there. Saturday they took us over to Lake Michigan. It was a beautiful day!
He's one of the associate pastors at the church, but we've known them since he pastored the very first church we went to when we started deputation...waaaaay back in 2004.

Monday I decided to make granola. I had too much fun going to the local health food store and getting a variety of grains to use (in Argentina I can only find oatmeal) BUT I learned the hard way that some things are best NOT added to the mixture... wheat berries. Those puppies are so hard you could break a tooth on them!

I'm missing a couple days when I had a migraine and didn't do anything beyond what was necessary.

Thursday we were able to connect with old friends from our homeschooling days. Erv and Sally are also missionaries now, serving in Guatemala so it was a HUGE treat to find out they were in town.
We had a fact, we talked until about 3:30 a.m.!  If you know me, you know I like to talk, and so does Sally :)  It wasn't only catching up on each other's lives, but also sharing about our ministries... it's hard to explain but there's just a special connection with other missionaries -- we understand what they're going through and vice-versa. They head back to Guatemala on Tuesday and who knows if we'll manage to be back in Hillsdale County at the same time in the future? We're just thankful we were able to get together this time!

I promised photos of the house we're staying in. Once again, I just have to say how GRATEFUL we are that God provided so abundantly through His people! Mike and Jami worked long and hard to get the house ready for us, and folks from church stepped up to help with furniture, appliances, etc. We did nothing except unpack our suitcases.

Anyway, here's a picture of the living room taken by the front door (the sofa folds out into a queen-size bed when we have guests):
Right by the front door I've placed this lovely aqua vase I found at Goodwill for $6. It stands about 16" high and I snitched some straw thingies that Tina left in her old apartment to put in it.
And from the other corner of the living room, you can see right into the kitchen:
You saw the dining part of the kitchen in the photo with Erv and Sally, but here's a close-up of the kitchen work area:
The house has three bedrooms. The first has a twin bed and will be great when we have just one person visiting:
The middle room is serving as a study right now (and a catch-all for things we'll be taking back to Argentina):
It's hard to tell by the picture, but our room has luscious chocolate brown walls and shimmery gold curtains that look lovely with the bedding:
(Ignore the messy side tables.)
And we've heard the bathroom transformation is quite amazing. I'm hoping Jami will show me the "before" pictures sometime, but here's the lovely after:
So there you have it, a tour of our home-until-November. And may I just say, one of the best things about it? IT HAS CENTRAL AIR CONDITIONING!!! This is the first time since 1997 that we've had a.c. and I am REVELING in it :)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Pray for Mike and Rita

This has gone out on facebook but I'm pretty sure there are those who know Rita from Project 365 but aren't necessarily friends on facebook...

We don't know the particulars or the extent of the damage, but Mike and Rita's house burned overnight. I'll post updates as we hear more. But we wanted to ask our P365 and other blog friends to be lifting them up in prayer, for God's grace and comfort and provision.

Edited to add:
Noon update from facebook: Details are in...they lost 1/3 to 1/2 of the house...Mike is in the ER with some burns and major smoke inhalation, and will keep him overnight. The fire started with the pottery kiln somehow.

Edited to add:
4 p.m. update via phone call: The doctor insisted on Mike staying overnight because smoke inhalation can be tricky and flare up while you're sleeping. There are burns on his hands and his face looks like he has a bad sunburn. Some hair was singed and his eyebrows are "mostly intact".
Lots of people have called or facebooked to see what they can do to help. Once they know the extent of the damage and what needs to be done, those who offered to help will be contacted. 
Meanwhile continue to keep Mike and Rita in your prayers!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Monday Meanderings

We didn't get home until about 9 pm last night and I was just too tired to get a Project 365 post up... decided it could wait and I'll just do two weeks of photos next Saturday.

I think all the traveling has caught up with us. We've been back and forth between Michigan and Indiana constantly for the past month. We thought we'd have to return to Indy tomorrow to have them remove the trial doo-hickey (that is totally a technical term) but the lady from Medtronics was able to walk Ivan through how to do it via a phone call. So now I think we may stay put in Michigan this week. It would be nice to have time to get caught up on paperwork before the crazy begins all over again next week.

And I wouldn't mind a few siestas either :)

We are thoroughly enjoying the lovely, DRY weather. I think rain is in the forecast for later in the week, but meanwhile we revel in the sunshine. I noticed yesterday the 'miniature' lilacs we planted at the parsonage are in bloom (they always bloom later than the others) and I received permission from the current occupant to pick some to enjoy. They have the most heavenly, intense scent -- much stronger than the other lilac bushes -- and they have really pale lavender (almost-but-not-quite white) flowers.

Ivan got in some strenuous physical activity this morning and early afternoon, helping a friend chop and load wood. I'm pretty sure he lost a few pounds in sweat :) My most strenuous activity was trying to find my way around the local Walmart and I'm sure I walked an extra mile or two  several hundred yards  few feet, back-tracking because the store is laid out so differently than the Walmart back in Cordoba. Sure would be nice to have a Meijers closer than Jackson; I like their variety and quality of produce a lot more. Pero es lo que hay.

The trial period showed I respond well to the treatment so I'm scheduled for surgery next Tuesday, June 14th. Really excited about that!

I'm in the living room and can smell the lilacs in the other room. Mmmmmmm

A brief stop at a Goodwill the other day netted me three bright orange Tupperware canisters I can use now AND take back to Argentina for the house in Sta. Rosa.
I like the retro look and appreciate the pop of color they lend to a room, to say nothing of the great $5 price tag for all three.

At another Goodwill (in a different town) I found an incomplete set of melamine dishes in a very retro avocado green (although the plates have a white daisy pattern on the green background). Not the prettiest, but very serviceable and they'll be great for the casita. I know I have mentioned how ceramic tile is DEATH to anything glass, even Corelle ware.

One of the things I'd like to do this week is watch "The King's Speech". I've heard so many good comments, making it the one movie I know I want to see. Any other recommendations? Remember that we've seen very few in the past three years (the only two I can think of are "Julie and Julia" and "UP").

I'm really, REALLY, REALLY enjoying the public library :) I've read a few mysteries and have started a Maeve Binchey novel as well as Beth Moore's "So Long Insecurity" and a book that caught my eye because of the title: "Menopause Reset!" What are you reading this summer?

This post has meandered all over the place and I could keep going, but will stop and either (a) bake cookies, (b) start sorting receipts for the ministry expense report or (c) take a siesta. Which do you think I'll end up doing? :)