Saturday, May 26, 2012

Unexpected Blessings

I haven't had much time to blog lately as everything takes a looooong time with my "no weight bearing" restriction.  Showering, getting down the stairs, going to the bathroom are are all events - rather than moments.  The kids are all so helpful, and the boys are champs at getting their sisters around to all the many dance recital and music classes.  Although I've lost the ability to drive and get about, I've discovered some unexpected blessings in "being still."

I've been much more consistent with reading aloud with the girls, as well as listening to them read.  I've head time to find lots of good phonics books and work on them with Sarah and Jenny.  Most of all, I've been a "captive audience" for anyone who just wants to sit and chat - something I was often impatient with in the past.

All the kids have learned to cook some essential items:  scrambled eggs for the girls, multiple meals and grilling for the boys, and today they'll likely tackle chocolate chip cookies.  These are things done much more efficiently by me - and I rarely let the kids participate as we had such a busy schedule of activities, grocery stores, and Walmart. :)  All the kids have learned some valuable life skills, and learned great compassion for the (temporarily) disabled.

I've also tasted some yummy treats brought by friends - here are the vanilla scones from Dorita D. - all fuel for faster healing, lol!  Don't underestimate the power of happiness in the physical healing process!

Jenny has developed some well needed empathy - and has become a much nicer girl for it.  She has enjoyed her homeschool video classes after school, and likes the first grade reading because, as she says, "I UNDERSTAND this, Mom!"  She is reading beautifully on a beginning 1st grade level after only 3 months home.  This includes the 2 weeks where I was completely out of the picture with my surgery and initial recovery.  The school ESOL program has been a HUGE blessing, but we've decided that her multi-level needs (4th math, 1st reading, etc.) make homeschooling her the best choice.  I'm thankful for the few months she spent in school as I believe it really helped her English skills more than being home would have.

Sarah will likely return to school next year as she is on level (ahead in Math) and she'll need more ESOL intervention.  She is still a bundle of energy, and would not be able to follow the combined science and history that we are doing with the 3 older girls.  We have a very supportive school system and are thankful how they've come alongside to support us in transitioning the girls to a new culture.

I think both our new daughters are extraordinarily bright, athletic, and talented, and we feel very blessed that God chose us as their family.  Without the help of several advocates, these girls would have been black and white names - with a "multiple special needs" label - and we wouldn't have known that such hidden gems existed.  THANK YOU to those who posted their pics, asked for families, and took the time to find out about - and talk about - their wonderful personalities.  It scares me to think we might have missed them.  Finally - take a look at this beautiful boy who has the best write up I've ever seen in an orphan file.  I'd give anything to be able to adopt him myself:

Please pray that he will find a family.  What a blessing he will be!! He turns 12 in August and his time is running out.  This boy desperately wants a mom and dad. 

Please pray that I will continue to heal well and be back on my feet and THEN able to go slowly as needed. I'm getting a little stir crazy in the house - but a fall would put me back into surgery - and recovery would begin again.  Achilles tendon ruptures are a long recovery to normalcy, and only time allows you to meet the milestones of limping, walking, and healing beyond the danger of re-rupture.  I'm counting the days - but counting the blessings along the way as well.

Thanking God for my friends and family who have given me joy during a difficult time.  Blessings, Kim

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Pure Joy!

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.    James 1:2-4

This was my Bible reading yesterday - along with a devotion from Oswald Chambers that was titled "Developing the Habit of Enjoying Adversity."  Do you think God is trying to tell me something?  As I pondered these verses in my bed, chair, and other chair - the 3 places that I spend my entire day recently, I realized that although I've moved past self pity, I am not anywhere near considering this trial "pure joy."  So I prayed for help to see the joy in the situation.   And this is what showed up at my door today - with my lovely neighbor, Jane - pure joy:

And then I thought about Mother's Day when this showed up at my bedside!!

Pure Joy again! 

There is so much care and kindness delivered to our door each day - and when considering (obsessing over) what I've lost in mobility, I've failed to remember the blessings around me.  God is teaching me dependence on others - something I've never thought I needed - but am beginning to appreciate.  I HAVE depended on others, and just have conveniently forgotten or overlooked their contributions in light of my own capabilities.  Nebuchadnezzar comes to mind - as he strolled about his rooftop and pronounced the enormity of his own achievements.  At least I wasn't sent out to the fields. :) (Although my hair is getting kind of long....)

My new girls love me - but are surviving without my constant presence.  My homeboys and girls have learned life skills and surprised me with their own competence in running a household.  My husband is compassionate and only rarely annoyed with my constant demands. :)  

Amazing how quickly God answers - and through something as simple as a cake.  Thank you to my  friends who act with the hands and heart of Jesus, and thank you family for your constant selfless care.  

Love, Kim

Friday, May 11, 2012

Pretty in Pink

Cast #1 - cute - but painful!

Cast #2 the next day - not as painful - but still not fun.  I got my "Vacoped" boot in today - too late for my appointment - bummer.  It's a high tech boot that acts as a cast - but can convert to a hinged walking boot later.  I was afraid to spend the $$ - and now wish I had ordered it in time for my post op - it's awesome!  But no chance of trying it until my next appointment on Wednesday.  sigh.  I'm just thankful I have my robo-boot to look forward to vs. the medieval contraption the doc gave me.  ADVOCATE for yourself - they're too busy in surgery to mess with accessories. 

So here's the real pretty in pink:

They cheer me up every day - and never complain about my MIA status in the mornings (no more eggs for breakfast) constant trips up and down stairs, and generally being my legs, arms, and runners.

The new girls are showing some signs of stress with my "absence."  They don't like seeing their big sis as authority when I'm in the other room - and they miss "snugging" with mom on the sofa (it's too low for me to get up from there.)  I need to start watching movies in bed where they can take turns cuddling - they really need this and my downstairs arm chairs and ottomans keep everyone at bay.  They are disappointed that we can "go" like we usually do - we have lots of fun in the car - and the last few days the pain has made it not as fun to do chair dance parties, etc.  I need to get "back in the game" - because there's just no substitute for mom.  

Big brothers do all the dance driving, pool visiting, etc. with their sisters - they are such great kids.  They want to help and Clint has spent numerous hours in doctor's offices - not so fun.   So no one's missing anything - just the absence of mom on the back porch, at the pool, etc.  I really need to get going to fulfill my "watch me" duties - all kids need that as they do their cartwheels, learn to swim, and ride their bikes.  The cast is less painful today - so hopefully I'll be able to get outside.

People have offered all kinds of help - for which I'm grateful - but we're doing well.  My mom and dad have been INCREDIBLE - doing the laundry (2 year old Maytag washing machine bit the dust this week - right after the 1 year, 2 mos. old Kitchenaid Dishwasher - rant coming on...) cooking dinners, etc. Washing Machine arrives Saturday, PTL, and the massive loads will begin.

I need an idea for Mother's Day Dinner or present for my mom - someone HELP me!!! (she doesn't read my blog)  I'm so thankful my parents are close by - with hubby on the road alot, I require an entire NASCAR pit crew to fill all the needs here.  We are an active family!  Please comment with a good idea for Mother's Day - or email me offlist.  My mom deserves a thank you - delivery capable - and it's so hard to know what to do in this situation.  Blessings, Kim

Monday, May 7, 2012


I am going to hire a housekeeper to take some of the burden off my children around the house.  They are now the main cooks, cleaner uppers, waitresses, shower hands, and even appliance men since Kyle will have to install the new washing machine parts when they arrive.  They do the driving, shopping, and all the rest while they are trying to find a summer job.  I'm praying Harris Teeter hires one of them so they'll at least be able to combine those two jobs.

But the housekeeper has been too busy to call me back - so I sit with my leg on a cushion while my kids dust and vacuum around me.  While they are enthusiastically helping, and cheerfully doing chores that they formerly avoided, it still makes me uncomfortable to be the helpless one.  I LIKE to pick up after everyone, to keep the house nice, and to somewhat martyr myself in the process.   They don't particularly enjoy the work, but they love helping and that is very humbling.  When I was in "two shoes" (ATR folks lingo), I complained about my bulk of the work - now I humbly ask others to pick up the trash when I miss the can, leave my plate and mess and hobble away, and generally need others for something as simple as a seated meal.  They never remind me that they're doing all the work - and that's a lesson I sorely needed teaching.  Be thankful you can do all the work friends - it really is a blessing - and I am not kidding.

While hubby was out getting the groceries, he picked up this terrific Tervis mug for me that keeps my coffee hot and in the cup while the kiddos run it up the stairs in the morning.  I LOVE it!!  Just another sweet, spoiling thing my family has purchased for me.  I LOVE my shower and toilet chairs - thanks to my mom and dad's former accidents - what a relief on my one leg.

Kris J. recommended these "crutch muffins" that have a little pocket for carrying my phone and other small items around and super soft furry tops and handholds - they were worth every penny if you've ever felt the initial few days of crutches.

I'm getting pretty buff in the arms for an old lady - walking to the bathroom is a workout.   I'm starting to feel some pain relief, but have flares of cramps and pain throughout the day - the girls are a good distraction for that when they come to chat in between playing. Rachel reads aloud to me from "A Father's Promise" - a great story of WWII Warsaw.  Puts my daily struggles in perspective.
Perry is an incredible cook - so meals have actually gotten better around here - life is good.

I'm determined to enjoy my recovery - as 6-12  months is a LONG time to write off as wasted time. Just before bed last night, I watched Joni Earickson Tada interviewed - who lives with much worse everyday - and will have no "recovery."  Makes me ashamed to be such a whiny hiney.   No way that was a coincidence to see her on TV - God is good.  I had a "dance party" with my kids last night - yes - you can dance in a chair with your leg on a pillow!  It was hilarious and so good to cheer up my worriers!  Clint played the keyboard and is really DJ GOOD and the girls had a great time.  Sarah can dance like you never saw - good heavens, that kid is energetic!  Afterward, Clint played "It is Well With my Soul" and some other beautiful hymns for me - love it!  We had so much fun!!

Hoping my doc returns my calls today.  I want to check out a cast boot that you can get wet - but I need a prescription as it's $300 - yikes!  I'd like to spend some of the summer at the pool with my new girls - they really love it and it's so good for them to keep practicing.  So my barrel is full of blessings - and this is a chance for me to get just a little glimpse into the struggles of those around me that deal with this stuff regularly.  It's hard - and I'm embarrassed to say I never really understood with much compassion till now.  I can't imagine doing this alone - and many do - including orphans with no equipment, love, or hope.  Look for them - they need our help.  In the meantime, I continue my lessons in humility and hope to learn them well.  Thanking God for His patience with me.  Blessings, Kim

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Slowly coming back

Guess where everyone is hanging out now? :)  My bedroom is the new gathering area where I get to hear the stories about school, English teachers, dance classes, and other.  Big brothers are taking girls to classes, the swimming pool, and being all around great guys - never complaining about the continuous needs of a busy household.  I LOVE MY KIDS!  They are selfless and love to help.  I'm almost tripping over Sarah as she wants to get the lights and doors for me - making it somewhat dangerous on my crutches.  Just praying she tires of this soon!

Jenny is a little put out by my absence - her main concern was my inability to sign her school folder downstairs and wash her clothes.  She is learning empathy, however, as she assesses the situation - but still is feeling a bit ripped off that this happened so soon after her arrival.  Believe it or not - I understand this.  This poor kid has gone a long time without a mama to do all these things - and so I let her read to me in bed and listen to her stories about school more.  Oddly enough, this seems to be exactly what she needs as she's never really snuggled or been the recipient of physical affection - although she was well cared for by her foster family.  She didn't want to take time to call them in country - despite having their phone number, etc.  She only called once, and described her new life more in material improvement vs. family description.

I'm mostly positive now as I know a loving God allowed and likely even orchestrated this.  It's too freak accident and really shouldn't have happened since I'm in pretty good shape and had been road biking/swimming on alternate days.  He has a purpose and that makes the pain and inconvenience bearable.  I hope I catch onto the lesson quickly - but I know I need lessons in patience and trust - so that may not be the plan...

I'm no longer nauseous or in much pain - but am trying to get organized and efficient in getting around, having things nearby - GOSH I need a butler!  While my family does the same stuff - it makes me feel guilty asking continuously.  I can't stand trash that misses the basket, dirty clothes on the floor and other - so I'm learning to let go of these petty irritations.

A dear friend (Dee Ann) who has the gift of creativity and kindness brought me the SWEETEST basket yesterday!   (pic above) A fragrant rose, Godiva Chocolates, magazines, and even a really cute tiara among other things.  It made my day!  I have wonderful caring friends with busy lives who still check in and make sure everything's ok.  I'm so thankful!

On that note, I'll leave you with a pic of the back of my T-shirt that I bought on one of my last mobile days:

Pretty prophetic and sums it up nicely.  Hopefully, this little "unpleasantness" will teach my daughters what my friends already know - as they watch the love poured out on our family.  You can add "Southern Boys" into that as well - my sons are in the midst of finding jobs, planning their next year of college, and summer fun - but they have prioritized helping their dad and family while we figure out our new normal.   Blessings, Kim

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

You rang?

I love my girls!  They were so excited to bring me a bell this morning in case I needed anything.  They even dressed the part, lol.   My girls love to pretend - and they're having a ball trying to find things to bring me.

The leg block is still working so no pain at all.  I'm praying it lasts just a little longer!!  We met such nice people, including Chaplain Bateman, yesterday at the hospital.  One Anesthesiologist was a former Navy Pilot from around our time frame, and the other was a friend of a friend.  I never knew what happened - they gave me the funny stuff and I woke up to being loaded into a wheelchair.  Perfect.  I'm a big wimp when it comes to this stuff.  My "dancing days" are over for a while - this sucker is BIG!

But my girls, young men,  and hubby are taking good care of me!  I'm off to take another "knock you out" pill - but wanted to let everyone know that it all went well.  I'm dreading the numb wearing off but praying God will continue to work it all out.  I appreciate the prayers so much!! If I don't get back to you,  it's because I'm sleeping from all this medicine.  Love, Kim

It was kind of you to share in my troubles. Philippians 4:14

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


I stepped off a curb wrong and everything changed on Sunday. I ruptured my achilles tendon and am looking at a very long recovery time. (one year to full speed - 6 months to limp)  Now I can't cook, dress, drive, or shower by myself - and apparently things will get worse this evening after surgery.  sigh.   I will be praying a lot and going to the scriptures in search of encouragement.  God is in control of this and knew about it beforehand.  He works ALL things for our good.  It's just hard not to mourn my old easy life - I'm just not used to this new normal yet.

Please pray for my family as they're one hand short right now.   It's good timing for a number of reasons - the boys are home from college and are a huge help.  Our homeschool is winding down and we should be finished with all the difficult subjects this week.  We were way ahead as we were preparing for our China trip.  The new girls will still be in school for another month during the worst part of recovery.  So I have much to be thankful for - just need to figure out how to do all my daily tasks in a new way.

The girls are doing great, and I'm so thankful for all my kids!! My big guys are carrying and consoling, and my little ones are trying to help so much that I'm afraid they'll get tangled in my crutches, lol! The next few days necessitate strong pain killers - so not sure I'll be able to update again soon.  Trusting God!  Blessings, Kim