Back on my Feet

Frankenstein shoe

The saga of my broken foot continues.  The month off my feet has passed, aided by a bout of the flu that left me too ill to get out of bed for the final two weeks.  I did not accomplish all of the great things I had planned to tackle during my sojourn, but am thrilled that my doctor has given me permission to lose the crutches and knee scooter, at least for now.

I wheeled in on the knee scooter for my one-month-off-the-foot check up and x-ray, and was told the discouraging news that nothing had changed.  He then said that he really wants to do surgery to remove the chip but had decided to listen to the other doctors whose council he had sought and would give me some time to try healing without drastic measures.  Instead of the walking boot I asked for, he recommended a new pair of special shoes. They are basically leather casts that I can take off when I go to bed, similar to those old fashioned white leather baby shoes so many of us forced our toddlers to wear back in the day.  Thankfully, they don’t look like those old fashioned baby shoes!

The specialty store that my doctor recommended only carries the shoes in a medium width. Having a very narrow foot, I once made the mistake of buying a regular width shoe and allowing the shoe store to “pad” the inside to snug it up.  Not only was it miserably uncomfortable, my toes bruised from sliding down to the end of the shoes.  I have found that  most shoe stores do not stock narrow widths.  Regular and wide, yes, but not narrow.

I talked to a salesman on the phone and he did his best to encourage me to let him pad the shoes, because “most people who say their feet are narrow, really aren’t THAT narrow and can wear a regular width.” The shoes I needed were $165 a pair, and although he could order me a pair in a narrow width, it would be a full two weeks before they arrived.  I needed a pair of narrow shoes now.

After thanking  him I pulled out my computer.  Amazon happened to have one of the two recommended styles in narrow and my less favorite  style was on sale for $83 a pair.  Economy won over fashion.  I ordered them and they arrived in two days.  As much as I like supporting small businesses, I couldn’t justify the two week delay and the huge price difference.  Score one for big business.  Sorry, little guy.

These special shoes do not flex.  I call them my Frankenstein shoes and feel like Herman Munster clomping around in them.  But, I am able to walk around my house, stand, and go up and down stairs the traditional way!  I am able to cook, clean, and live my life again.  My feet get very tired after I have been up and around for most of the day;  I suspect it is from adjusting to the new properties of the shoe and  to being back on my feet.

My doctor made it clear  that I am not released to walk for exercise, and  I have noticed the ankle of my broken foot feeling much weaker.  Driving around the block burned  like fire.  When I first put on the new shoes, I felt like I was walking with a small stone in my shoe about where the chip has broken off.  Now, after a week of wearing them, I no longer notice the “stone.”

Per the doctor’s orders, I am not to go barefoot.  I do not need a brace for sleeping or showering, but need to get my shoes on as quickly as possible and wear them all day long.

After another month, I am to report in to the doctor and he will assess whether or not he gets to do surgery.  Based on recommendations I have heard, I am in no hurry to rush down that road.  I am mobile and I am confident that it IS in the process of healing.

I am also a firm believer in the power of prayer and different prayer warriors have prayed specifically for a healing touch on my foot.  God has supernaturally healed my body before, as well as the bodies of other family members, and I am confident that He will do it again.  The Bible says “Blessed are the feet of those who bring the Good News.”  This little setback is just an occasion for my God to dazzle the doctors when He shows His stuff.

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The Miracle Mutt

Miracle Mutt Give thanks to the LORD for he is good; His love endures forever. Psalm 107:1

My daughter’s little dog is a Miracle Mutt. He managed to injure himself last week in a duel to the death with a bathroom rug. The evil rug was destroyed, but it nearly took him with it. There were no witnesses to this battle; he was discovered lying listlessly on the floor with the rug in shreds around him. His left hind leg was useless and he trembled in horrible pain, refusing food and water.

The vet suspected a blown disc was the cause, but nothing was revealed by x-rays. A blood scan revealed nothing abnormal. Yet, the little guy was in intense pain. Even pain meds didn’t seem to eradicate his suffering. More x-rays and additional vet visits failed to reveal the cause of his problems. Stumped, the Dr. suggested a neurosurgeon, but warned that the tests alone would cost thousands of dollars.

One thing we knew, the poor dog wouldn’t last long in his current condition. It looked very grim. He would only drink from a syringe as he lay quivering from the pain. At one point he lost bladder control and couldn’t even stand. She hand fed him special foods and wept.

My daughter was heartbroken, and we all cried together at the thought of euthanizing her beloved pet. Without the funds to cover such a catastrophic event, she would have him put out of his suffering if he failed to improve over the weekend.

We prayed. We posted on Facebook and friends and family prayed. She teaches Sunday School and the children in her class prayed.

Deciding that his final day would be as good as she could make it, they went to his favorite place and spent several hours at the ocean as she prayed and cried. And God was gracious and merciful.

On Monday, the dog stood up and limped around her living room. He began putting the injured foot down to the ground and began to void his bladder and bowels without assistance. He wants to play! He is so perky that she worries that he may reinjure himself.

The vet was not sure he would last through the weekend, but we are celebrating God’s mercy. Whatever the cause of his injury, we believe that God is in the process of miraculously healing my daughter’s little dog. We are humbled and grateful beyond words, praising our God and King for his great love.

Psalm 116: I love the LORD for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy…The LORD is gracious and righteous. our God is full of compassion.

Reflections

My snow-birding adventure in Florida is rapidly coming to a close. Winter is over. Tomorrow morning we will embark on a new chapter, as we walk through a door that the Lord has opened and follow His divine direction for our lives. It seems like a perfect time to review and reflect upon the past three months.

I am so grateful for my husband; he is my hero. He has sacrificed so much for my health and comfort; most recently in his decision to file for an early retirement and spend the winter in Florida, working via up-link from our tiny RV. He will not officially retire until the end of April and certainly would have been more comfortable spending his last months on the job in his office in Michigan! Adjusting to life in the RV has been a challenge mostly due to the confined space (and in sharing that space with the cats!). We call our Maine Coon “the House Monkey” because he insists on finding high spaces to inhabit and doesn‘t mind climbing over anything to reach them, including important papers. He has added many a wrinkle to my husband’s attempts to stay organized.

A job lead brought us to Florida’s western panhandle, but my first month in Florida was spent in physical recovery. I battled influenza, a urinary tract infection, and wrapped up January with a viral upper respiratory infection. Other than trips to the Santa Rosa Medical Clinic, my days were mostly spent in bed, listening to sermons or watching DVD’s on my laptop. The job lead fizzled, but I was too ill to care.

This snow-bird experience was not what I had imagined. While in Michigan, I envisioned a winter of summer-like days spent by the water with a book. The weather in January and February was too chilly for extended outdoor activities, I was easily bored, and missed interaction with people. Everyone stays inside when the weather is cold and wet, and only venture out to quickly walk the dog or do laundry.

By February I was feeling better and had my fill of campground life. I asked the Lord to open a door for me, and He led me to the Santa Rosa Pregnancy Resource Center where I became a “full-time/short-term volunteer.” It takes many willing hands to make a ministry function and this filled my days with a variety of activities, from addressing banquet invitations, answering phones, meeting with clients, sorting baby clothes, general housekeeping, and assembling baby equipment. I got to know wonderful godly women, help the ministry run smoothly, and be a blessing to others. The reality is, they were even a bigger blessing to me! I enjoyed every moment spent at the PRC. In this short time I have made friends that I hate to leave.

As I reflect on the past three months, I can say that God is faithful. He protected us from the many storms, answered a multitude of specific prayers, and showered us with innumerable blessings. Jesus came that we might have life to the fullest, and walking with Him is never dull!

Are you bored, frustrated, or lonely and wondering just how and where God will ever use you? Abundant life is waiting for you. I urge you to start investing yourself in others. There are many opportunities for service in your community; not all ministry happens in a church! Ask the Lord to lead you and direct you to where He has already prepared a place for you. You will be blessed beyond your wildest dream as you become a blessing to others. Listen for his voice and be willing to follow whatever He directs you to do. Life’s great adventure is waiting for you just outside your door!

Shhh…..

One of the “hats” I have worn in my life was working at a flower shop as a florist. It was a small shop and I performed a multitude of duties, ranging from processing and cleaning the flowers, creating and selling floral arrangements, and delivering the finished product. I was surrounded by flowers, all day and every day.

At first, I was overwhelmed by the mix of floral fragrance. Every inhalation brought a dizzying mix of roses, daisies, and lilies. but, after I had been on staff for about six months, I noticed that the flowers had lost their scent; the only flowers I could still smell were the especially strong ones, like stargazer lilies and gardenias.

My co-workers explained it was one of the hazards of the job. Gradually, we lose our ability to recognize the scents we smell on a daily basis, much as a smoker can’t detect the odor of cigarette smoke on their clothing. I had lost my ability to smell flowers.

Just as my job in the flower shop dulled my sense of smell, without my even noticing it was leaving, there are things in our daily life that can dull our senses to God. It doesn’t even have to be a “bad” thing to dull our senses. Life’s busyness, electronic media, demands of a job and family, interpersonal struggles, and life in general can slowly erode our connectivity with our Creator. Life becomes a tiring race to the grave, instead of the exciting journey that He wants for us.

Prayer, that constant connection to our life-force, is critical for our spiritual health. REAL prayer, not a chanted rote-memory verse from childhood, rattled off out of guilt or a feeling of obligation, is the key to revitalizing our God-sense.

We need to be intentional about connecting with God in prayer and make it a priority in our life. We need to create a period of silence in our life to accomplish that. Silence is an avenue to being with God.

Unplug from your electronic devices! Turn off the pager, cell phone, iPod, computer, television, and radio. Create a “digital-free zone.” Let the answering machine take a message! Cultivate a quiet place to help you focus on God. A pastor I know has his quiet time while sitting in his parked truck in his garage. Another friend does her quiet time in her bedroom closet. And, Susanna Wesley is said to have carved out her personal quiet time with God by sitting with her long apron flipped up over her head amidst her ten children.

Keep a journal or a notepad handy. As you embrace the silence, your brain will start remembering things you need to act on, distracting your concentration. You will suddenly remember that you need to phone the appliance repairman, schedule the babysitter, or pick up the dry cleaning! Jot these down on your notepad and let them go until after your time with God.

You may also find yourself beginning to mentally stew about an emotional issue, such as a fight you had with your mother, a disagreement with your spouse or co-worker, or your frustration over hurt feelings from slight by a friend. Share these with God. Pour your heart out to Him. I keep a journal where God and I work through these kinds of struggles. He is faithful! As I write out my hurts and frustrations, He brings encouragement, answers, and direction.

There is no “formula” for connecting with the Almighty. As a new believer, I was told that I needed to keep a prayer list and had to pray through it every day for at least thirty minutes a day. Because of my lack of experience, it beams a duty of list recitation instead of a time of bringing my heart-felt requests to Heaven’s throne room. I couldn’t wait for the timer to buzz, releasing me from my obligation for another day.

That is NOT the relationship that God wants from us. Our prayers are more than recited grocery lists of wants; he desires fellowship with us. It is a privilege to voice our concerns, our praises, our thanksgiving, and sit in His presence in spiritual communion with Him.

Talk to Him about what is really on your heart! Don’t turn this time into an exercise of fancy-sounding religiosity, but use it for what it truly is: a time of connecting with your Father. Unplug from the noise around you, re-tune your senses, and drink in the aroma of God’s presence.

“Be still and know that I am God;” Psalm 46:10