Our Retro Bungalow

Our Retro Bungalow
The journal of the making of an old house into a lovely new home.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

A Grand and Growing Gallery of Love

I vividly remember a phone conversation with my mother
back in the summer of 1986.
I was out in front of our townhouse watching our firstborn, who had 
recently turned two, play on the lawn and lick ants off the sidewalk.
That's right.
And he once ate a lethargic fly he managed to capture off the front room window.
So really, the ant licking didn't bother me all that much.
In my defense, I simply couldn't get to him fast enough to stop his fly eating and
the ants he was now consuming were very tiny ants.
What could a few tiny ants hurt?
Our second child was due to be born in just a few months.
I told my mother in that phone conversation that I was honest-to-goodness
concerned about whether or not I would be able to love this second child 
as much as I loved our little Justin.
I was whole hog, heart and soul, over the moon in love 
with our little boy and could not quite imagine the 
reality of loving our next child with equal fervor.
My mom, also mother to my four siblings, chuckeled a little
and reassured me that there is always, always room enough
 in a mother's heart for her new child.
She was right, of course.
I've loved each of our subsequent children with the same
natural devotion that I had for our first.

I suppose that somewhere over the course of the past three decades
I grew up a little because I've never, ever doubted my capacity
to love deeply and cherish
each of our beautiful grandchildren
from our first, on down to our most recent,
and even our sweet "Little Joe"
who isn't due to make his appearance until the first week of August.
By golly, it's true...
ya really don't know til ya know.
Being a grandmother is such a joy!
And it has somehow, quite unexpectedly, made me feel complete when
 I hadn't previously thought of myself as incomplete.

Now then,
let me get to the point of this post.
I finally followed through on my plan to
create a gallery wall devoted to our six sweet grandchildren.

Faithful friends and devoted readers,
(thank you, by the way, for being the kind folks that you are)
I'm pleased to present
Retro Bungalow's
"Gallery of Grands"

Just so ya know,
purchasing two extra frames with mats isn't the silliest thing I've ever done.
Just think of me has an optimist.

Thanks for stoppin' by.
There's some big stuff goin' on around here that I'll be reporting on soon
and, most likely, for the next 365 days (or more) to come.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

A Strong Heart

"Thank goodness I keep my underwear drawer tidy."

"There are still so many old photos that need to be sorted through."

"Does Dean know the password and user name for my journaling account?"

"Do our children know...I mean really, really know the depth of my testimony of
Jesus and His restored gospel?"

"Will our grandchildren know how much I love the Lord?"

"Will they remember how I love them?"

" I hope Dean won't be alone for long. He will not do lonely well at all."

Those are the primary thoughts that ran lap after lap
in my mind after I was abruptly awakened just after 5 a.m.
on the 8th of March, certain I was having a heart attack.

A chest x-ray was ordered.
An EKG was administered.
A whole lotta blood was drawn.

Chest x-ray didn't reveal much.
EKG was perfect.
Blood work called for a CT scan.

CT scan did not find the suspected pulmonary embolism.
It did find nodules in my lungs.
And asthma.
A rather severe case of asthma.
And an unusually shaped (small and flattish) esophagus.

An upper GI scope was requested.
A liver that functions in an ascending,
rather than descending fashion, was seen.
 "Micro-aspiration" of bile.
At night.
While I'm sleeping.
My own body -
drowning itself and wreaking havoc
on the lining of my lungs.

No wonder I'd been wheezing for weeks.
The chest pain and heaviness explained.

Another CT scan expected in 6 to 12 months
to keep an eye on those nodules.

Five weeks later, having complied with the prescribed treatment plan,
I'm feeling better.
Psychically, anyway.

It's reassuring to be told by a doctor you've got a strong heart.
Because a strong heart can handle hard things.

My husband is a weight lifter.
I've watched him train time and again.
Except not for the past few years because
we've been otherwise engaged, ya know.

Weight lifting:
ya take a functioning muscle,
subject it to a bit of strain
and what do you get?
Then healing.
And then...
increased capacity.
That old cliche "No pain, no gain" is truth.

Our hearts are a muscle.
And even though a doctor may declare a heart to be healthy and strong,
that does not mean it isn't sick and heavy and strained.
Just remember, though, that
strain and pain and then healing make them grow.
Strength and capacity increase.

Like every other woman, I clearly remember bringing each one of our babies
home from the hospital lovingly swaddled in a clean, soft receiving blanket
and foremost in my mind were all the things in this wide world
we would shield and protect them from.
And just as paramount,
 all the good and wonderful things we would teach them.
And we had nothing less than the best expectations.

As it turns out,
 we had it backward.
All along, the plan was really for them to teach us.
And, boy howdy, have they.
We've learned aspects of agency that
we didn't know we didn't want to learn, but needed to.

It's humbling, I tell ya.
Half-decent folks like us dealing with
issues we never dreamed we'd be dealing with.
Cuz we taught them better.

But after strain and pain are inflicted on our hearts, they can heal.
That's the tricky part, though.
Healing doesn't just happen.
You must seek understanding by consulting with a qualified physician.
Understanding is the conduit to healing.
And then comes the growth.
And that, right there, is the whole point of this mortal schooling.
You and nobody else ain't ever gonna be convincin' me otherwise.

There is only one true phsycian qualified to render aid to
a heavy, pained and burdened heart.
Jesus Christ can heal every heart.
As we hold fast to God and our faith in Him
 the hurts in our hearts are transformed into
the kind of love we are supposed to learn while here in the flesh.
Dang, it's hard.
It's supposed to be.
I am so intensely thankful for this understanding that my good husband and I
have acquired together in the struggles that are and have been ours.
Sweet is the peace His gospel brings!

What with all those unanticipated distractions,
we've still been able to accomplish a few things around here,
not the least of which is beginning the construction of
Mr's lifelong dream:
Can I hear a
"WAH-HOOO for YOU!"?
It's exciting.
he's excited, anyway.
I help if I can, but mostly I just marvel at the man.
And his tractor.

Notes to self:

Nobody cares about your underwear drawer, but you.

Commit to spending 20 minutes every day sorting those old photos til the sorting's done.

Write down your journaling password and username, because he'd never 
remember them if  you told him.

Bear your testimony of  Jesus and His gospel to your children often.

Bear your testimony of Jesus and His gospel to your grandchildren often.

Write letters to each of your grandchildren telling them how much you love them. 
Leave copies in your journal.

Don't worry about Dean finding someone to keep him from being lonely. 
You'll be around for a while.