July 13, 2011

Home Sweet Home

You are finally home. You are sitting in YOUR chair, wearing YOUR clothes, eating YOUR food. I love that home feels like home again. The transition hasn't been a piece of cake for you. Maneuvering around the kitchen with your walker has become an annoyance to you, the chair in the shower isn't ideal, and having me and mom follow steps behind you like stalkers can be smothering...however, you are home!!! The smile on your face has returned, the jig in your step (or shuffle) is more noticeable, and the sneaky crinkling of a bag of chips can be heard again. ahhhhhh....did this house miss you.
You and I spent all morning making phone calls to doctors, insurance companies, and the rehab center. I'm thinking we could run a telemarketing business rather well. Later, I found you crawling on the floor doing your exercises (and was impressed by your initiative). It has truly been a unique and eventful morning back home.
When we finally sat down together to relax, I began to share about all of the amazing blessings God has given our family during this time. I mentioned this story:
As I was on my run yesterday, I turned off my headphones and began to have a conversation with God. It began with my asking him why someone so faithful to Him could be going through so much financially, physically, and emotionally. I begged him to bestow some blessings on the situation and on you for all you are going through. I prayed for the house to sell, for your healing, and for strengthened spirits and favor. Then I got silent. So many things began to flood my mind- financial support from others, acts of kindness from those around us, your ability to walk again, and the strength of our family. I realized that He HAS supported us, given us favor, and blessed us.
You said simply this: "I have been blessed beyond what I deserve or had to give.
Don’t let Satan rob you of the reminders of how good God has been.
I also heard you on the phone with a friend (I wasn't eavesdropping!). You mentioned that you couldn't imagine walking through this without the support you have been given from family and friends, but also without the hope of Jesus Christ. I see it shining through you as you gain your strength and I am thankful you remind me to be aware of the blessings God has given us. It truly reminds me of the song "Blessings" by Laura Story:
"Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise"

Amen, Dad.

June 23, 2011

Cabin Fever

We were finally given the green light from the doctors to get you ready to head to rehab! I'm so excited...and can only imagine how you feel. I sense your cabin fever. Does this describe how you feel?

Hopefully we will say "peace out" to Northwestern in the next day or so. You and I found it humorous when we discovered a "Patient Welcome" pamphlet on the counter in your room. I'm assuming you could write one of those for the hospital at this point. As soon you as are outta here I'm turning in my "city driving" badge and putting on my oven mitts. How does "Pizza Meatloaf" sound on the menu? (homemade, not hospital made!)

June 22, 2011

After sneaking you some frozen yogurt, sharing my goldfish crackers, and keeping both wheels of the wheelchair on the ground for our walk today, I think I earned your trust! :) You interrupted the silence in the hospital room today with a request for some devotional time. You listened and gave simple "Amens" and sighs of agreement as I read a week's worth of devotionals from my phone. The improvisation of daily iphone devotionals left the same impact on us both as reading from a renowned best-seller. It brought back to mind the number of mornings I would wake for school to find you sitting in solace reading your worn brown, leather Bible at the head of the kitchen table. Years later I realized that it was not only for our family, but also for daily bread for yourself, that you began each new day this way. Today I pray that our time together and the words from the devotional spoke to you and gave you daily bread to carry you through the difficult moments of doubt, worry, or fear you may encounter in your alone time within those hospital walls. May Christ meet you there and may you sense His presence strong and clear.

June 19, 2011

Today is father's day.
I love you more than words could express.
I love our BUTTERFLY kisses.
I love the way you scratch with your beard.
I love that I'm still not too big to cuddle with you in a chair.
I love how you laugh AT me...which for some reason I don't mind.
I love the way you always seem to have the answer.
I love the way you treat my husband as one of your own sons.
I love your wit and how you wiggle humor into every conversation.
I love the laugh that comes from your belly and shows all your teeth.
I love how REAL you are, always opening up to gentle give your true thoughts.
I love how you still wear black shoes with a brown belt.
I love how you let me know you are proud of me.
I love you'll do anything for a joke...including removing your teeth.
I love hearing you yell at the tv when our Cubbies are on...you are a realistic fan.
I love that you cry with me and celebrate with me.
I love how your arms go all the way around me in a Bear Hug.
I love how through this journey we have been on these last few months, you have never seemed anything less than the dad I have known and loved for 25 years.

Love you daddy.
Happy daddy day!


June 17, 2011

Oops! You did it again!

Lately, you are always trying to make me an accomplice in your daring feats. Today, you were determined to get into a standing position. You proceeded to tell me that you were given the "ok" to try this with someone present. Your determination enabled you to get to your feet, yet at the same moment an alarm began to sound. "Way to go!" I antagonized. Sure enough, they were smart enough to place a "bed exiting alarm" underneath you. Although this was hilarious at the moment, I realized that this totally describes you! You are successful and an example because of this determination.
I distinctly recall a simple "hike" you once encouraged mom, Rich, and I to embark on while on vacation in Tennessee. This trail was supposed to lead us to a hidden waterfall. Flip-flops on our feet, clad in t-shirts and shorts, we began the hike mom promised would be "short and sweet." Three miles later and on a steep incline, I believe it was you and Mom huffing and puffing behind us. You pushed us onward, however, wanting us to experience the treasure at the end of our journey. After passing experienced hikers carrying their camel packs of water, we finally reached the gorgeous waterfall. You both gave Rich and I that "told you so" look and at that moment I realized that your persistence was part of your plan. You taught us that the back-breaking work, effort, and at times doubting moments, are all a piece of success.
Although I don't condone your "jail-breaking" ways as of lately, I appreciate and admire your innate desire to work for the prize. I believe this is what God sees of your life and why we are noticing the fruits of your labor growing so abundantly in relationships and support around us. Never give up. Never lose hope. Let go of doubt. Hold on to your greatest attributes, your determination, and the Father that guides us through seemingly never-ending paths to His unmatchable rewards.

We came a BIT more prepared years later:

June 16, 2011


As I revisited my blog, I was amazed to realize how long I have been on "hiatus" from writing. It's surprising that whether you are on a mountain top or valley, life just seems to get ahead of you. It took what is going on in life at the moment for me to rediscover my passion for written expression. It is through written words that so many things can surface: emotions, events, and a storage place for present-day memories.

It is not a secret that things have been a bit unstable within our family. Dad is still in the hospital and doctors await further tests and developments before we can grasp what is going on his body. The beautiful Sidell twins have arrived and each coo and smirk melts our hearts. Finally, my third year of teaching, and first at the 5/6 level has come to a close. These past few months can be summed up in contradictory forms: successful, difficult, tumultuous, eye-opening, breath-taking, blessed.....

My over-arching goal of returning to this long-lost link, is to record both struggles and moments of joy that God places in my life during this journey we have begun with Dad. I'm hoping that these journal entries remind both dad and myself of how time in the valley is full of God's gentle whispers and kisses of His love and faithfulness.

Thursday June 16th, 2011

I've never wished for summer vacation more! As a kid we ached for pool parties & fireflies. Last night I sat on the back porch watching the fireflies and they seemed to have lost their luster. Antsy adolescents look forward to group dates, midnight movies, and shopping sprees. In adulthood overwhelming responsibilities outside of a career sometimes make a "vacation" seem bittersweet....as the word has lost its once attractive meaning. This year it has developed a whole new meaning. I wouldn't consider these next 3 months a "break" but as a "blessing" That word is much sweeter. I'm able to be here at the hospital with you. Whether I'm diving back into my final "Twilight" book, fiddling on facebook, or discouraging you from daringly leaving your bed for the chair, I'm enjoying every moment. I can be where our family needs me, when they need me. Never have I felt more honored to be a servant. You have always been that to your family.

Today you seemed alert and talkative. When you heard that rehab may mean several days, you were discouraged and your demeanor changed. I can't blame you. I shared how I've been held up by the song "Blessings", which exudes the message of the way that sometimes it takes rain for us to be reminded that God is our solid ground and through it we see evidence of his mercy and faithfulness. I pray this holds you up today and throughout this journey...no matter its length or course.

On a lighter note, I'm looking forward to the wheelchair ride you promised to let me steer you on today. Although I believe the phrase, "poppin' wheels" may have deterred you and dissolved some of your trust in me as a driver, I'm hopin' for more laughs today!