Thursday, February 24, 2011

Happy Potatoes

Will is better!  He finally got his energy back on Tuesday after nine days of being tired.  Here he is trying to catch up on his schoolwork.
I'm better too.  Today  is the day we received Anna's cancer diagnosis six years ago.  Wow, that sounds like a LONG time and yet the memories can make it seem like yesterday.  Most of the time I choose to leave those bad memories packed up and out of my way.  It's really hard to function if you are replaying the bad stuff over and over--especially when there are so many GOOD things to think about.
Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. (Phil. 4:8)
 On Monday the kids were out of school for President's Day.  Jacob went snow tubing with the youth group from church.  I tried to copy the picture of him off of Facebook, but it's tiny.  Look closely.  He is wearing shorts!


Because Will had been cooped up all last week I decided to fulfill his life-long dream of going to the Ripley's Believe it Or Not Museum in Williamsburg.  Audra went along for the ride, because after all, who wouldn't want to see a portrait of Abraham Lincoln made out of butterflies?

 Or an outfit made out of guitar picks?

 Or this scene from "Rocky" that is made up entirely of words from the script. 
(Notice Will's tired eyes.)

 Or stand beside the world's tallest man?

When we  got home, Will fell asleep on the couch and I had to go pick up Jacob so I asked Audra to peel the potatoes for dinner.  When I got back I found these...
I had already tossed a few into the pot before I realized what a treasure they were and took a picture.  She did her work cheerfully don't you think?  I LOVE my show-tune singing, rabbit-dressing, smiley-potato girl!

Friday, February 18, 2011

The sun will come out tomorrow.....maybe

Will is sick.  The doctor says it's probably the flu which means he'll get over it eventually.  But it's been six days.  Six days of fever.  Six days of laying on the couch.  Six days of staying home.  Six days of trying to find something that he will eat.  Six days of taking his temperature.   Six days of hoping that tomorrow will be better.
It's all very familiar.  Even though I know in my head that Will will be fine, the feelings that have been stirred up in my heart are exactly the same as the ones I used to have.  Anna was sick for almost three years.  Three years of being confined to the house.  Three years of laying on the couch.  Three years of trying to find things she would eat.  Three years of taking her temperature.  Three years of being aware that every laugh, every family dinner, every walk outside, every breath is a gift.  Three years of hoping the next day would be better.
Hopefully Will's fever will be gone tomorrow and so will my anxiety.  Do I have to go through this  every time one of my children is sick?  Every time one of my grandchildren is sick?   Maybe.   Or perhaps there is a way out...

I sought the Lord and he answered me;  he delivered me from all my fears. (Psalm 34:4)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I found it...and I wasn't even looking

Do you remember back in December when I lost my ring?  I thought it was gone for good.  But this morning I found it!  I was cleaning out the hall closet and decided to go through the glove box to see if there were any we could get rid of.  When I pulled out all the gloves, there was my ring sitting on the bottom of the box!  It must have come off in my gloves.  I had looked in my gloves, but I had never looked in the box.  I never even thought to do that.  I would never have cleaned out that box except Will has been sick for four days and I am running out of things I can do while sitting in the living room with him.
As I sat down to write this post, I read back through my December 7 entry and remembered the fear I battled during those first days and weeks of Anna's diagnosis.  It made me think about a friend of mine who is fighting cancer.  Last night I talked to her daughter and she told me that her mom said, "I need something to look at."  Just before I started cleaning out the closet, I  put a card in the mail to her with a verse on it about God delivering us from our fears.  I thought she could look at that verse and meditate on it.  But now I think God showed me where the ring was so that I could pass it on to her.  I think she needs to wear a physical reminder to trust God during this hard time--just like I needed to six years ago.
So hello ring and goodbye.  I have learned to trust God without you reminding me.  Someone else needs you now.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My funny valentine

Valentine's Day is NOT my favorite holiday.  It's not because I don't love my husband or that he doesn't love me.  It's not that I hate chocolate and flowers.  It's because since 2005 it's been a day associated with sickness.  That year we had planned to go out, but Anna was sick with what we thought was a virus.  I remember how blissfully ignorant I was of events that were about to unfold a few days later when we received her cancer diagnosis.
The next year, she was sick with a fungal infection and having trouble breathing.  The next year we were flying to Delaware for surgery and got snowed in in Chicago.  The next year she was gone and Audra was sick.  Last year I think it was Jacob and this year it's Will.
So forget the romance and the candlelight dinners and pass the chicken noodle soup and Gatorade.  After all, it's like Richard's mom told me, "Every day is Valentines Day when you are married to a Salamy."

Funny Story:
Last week I came home and showed Will the new carrot peeler I bought.  (I love carrots and I wore out my old peeler.)  He looked at me funny and I said, "Did Dad buy me a carrot peeler?"  He said, "I'm not saying."  So I put the one I bought back in the bag and hid it in my closet--just in case.  Then this weekend we were at the mall and Richard said that he was going to buy me some striped socks (they were on my Christmas list, but I didn't get any).  He said, "Since you are here, why don't you just pick some out."  I called my sister later and said, "I think Richard got me a carrot peeler and socks for Valentines Day."  It turns out that he also got me a nice wallhanging that matches my new green kitchen.  After I opened it I asked, "Where's my carrot peeler?"  He forgot he had that and swears that it was never intended to be a Valentine's gift.

Another Funny Story:
While we were at the mall, I was shopping with Audra while Richard and Will were at the Apple Store.  After buying Audra some shoes at Dillards, I thought I would look in the lingerie department.  (I haven't given up all hope for a romantic Valentine's Day someday.)  Audra looked around at the negligees and said, "I just don't get this stuff?  Why would you wear these?  Do women wear them under their clothes?"  I said, "Let's go find Dad and Will."  After dropping her off, I was headed back to Dillards and happened to pass Victorias Secret.  Oh well, why not?   When I walked in, the salesgirl asked if I was looking for anything in particular.  I told her I needed a nightgown.  She said, "Most of the cotton is in the back."
Maybe I just look like I like cotton.  Maybe I was wearing a lacy negligee under my jeans and sweater!
She was right.
I like cotton.
I like striped socks and carrot peelers.
And I will spend another Valentines Day with throw up bowls and thermometers.
Oh well, maybe next year!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

My time is in his hands

Richard has been out of town the last two weekends.  While he was gone, I became afraid.  I wasn't afraid of robbers or something happening to one of the kids.  I was afraid of locking myself out of the house.  I became OCD about making sure I had the keys at all times.  Sometimes when I would go to meet Will at the bus stop, I took two sets of keys just to be sure I could get back in.
Last Friday when I had my Mom's In Touch group over I asked them to pray that I wouldn't get locked out of the house.  One of them asked, "Why don't you give your neighbors a key?"  Then they told me about all the people who had keys to their houses "just in case".  I thought that was a great idea so when Richard got back, he went to Lowe's and had five extra keys made.  Whew!  I didn't have to worry about getting locked out anymore!

Today when Richard asked me what I was going to do with my time, I said, "Oh, I have lots to do, but my time is in His hands." (I had just read-- My times are in your hands. Ps 31:15--earlier that morning.)  
I started my day by finishing painting the kitchen (Yea!).  Then I began the clean up.  I swept, wiped, and gathered my supplies.  Then I went to put the paint can out on the back porch.  Our little 12 pound dog heard the door open.  She thinks she has to go outside every time anyone else does, but I wasn't really going outside.  I was just setting the paint can on the porch so I didn't let her out and I didn't close the door all the way.  As I turned back to go inside, the dog lunged at the door and closed.  And YES IT WAS LOCKED!  I was locked outside with no shoes, no coat, and dressed in a paint shirt!  The five new keys were no help at all because they were sitting in the kitchen.  With the temperature just above freezing and a light dusting of snow on the ground I had to go for help.  I couldn't afford to be prideful or try to figure things out on my own OR I WOULD FREEZE.  I couldn't even go the two blocks to my friend's house because I didn't have shoes.  I ran to four nearby houses before I found someone who was home.   It happened to be a neighbor I had never met.  I quickly introduced myself and asked if I could come inside and use his phone.  He let me in and we had a nice visit while I waited for Richard to come home.  My neighbor kept asking if I wanted to borrow some shoes :-)  
SO, I guess today, meeting my neighbor was more important than shopping for Valentines Day or cleaning the bathrooms.  What adventure does God have in store for you today?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


No one anticipated or celebrated the coming of Christ more than his cousin John the Baptist.   He was the first to proclaim Jesus publicly.  Behold the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world.  He acknowledged the greatness of Jesus and humbled himself.  I am not worthy to baptize you.  He pointed his followers to Jesus.  He must become greater and I must become less.  He was the forerunner of Christ foretold by Isaiah.  He was a divine gift given to aging, barren parents.  Jesus said of him, among those born of women there is no one greater.  
But instead of being blessed with popularity, prosperity, and a long life, John was thrown into prison and eventually beheaded.  As he sat in his cell and awaited his fate, he began to question what he believed--until finally he sent someone to ask Jesus, Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?
(Hey Jesus, I thought you were the Messiah.  I mean I saw the dove and all and God told me that was the sign.  But now I'm not sure.  I mean, where's the kingdom?  Where's the power?  And why am I sitting here in prison????)

Jesus responded, 
Go back and report to John what you hear and see:  The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.
Then he added this...
Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me. 

Why would anyone fall away on account of someone who is giving sight to the blind, making lame people walk, curing leprosy, opening ears, and raising the dead?  Unless of course he doesn't.  Unless you are sitting in a prison cell and not a single miracle is coming your way--not today, not tomorrow, not ever.  Surely if anyone deserved a miracle, John did.  If anyone deserved deliverance, John did.  Jesus had the power to save John and he didn't.

Blessed is the man who doesn't fall away on account of the One who does all this for others, but who sometimes leaves you in your prison, with death just outside the door.  (Mark Buchanan, Things Unseen)
Jesus declared the most unlikely people blessed--the poor, those who mourn, those who hunger and thirst, those who are persecuted.  He told Thomas, because you have seen me, you have believed, but blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.  So why are the poor, persecuted, grieving people who have never touched the risen Christ or received one of his miracles blessed?  Perhaps it's because those people are forced to walk by faith.

Faith is the the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen. (Hebrews 11:1)  Without faith it is impossible to please God because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him (11:6).

Your faith cannot be dependent upon whether or not your child is healed, whether or not you get the promotion you deserve, whether or not this life is "fair".  If your faith depends on what happens to you in this life, then the Bible says you are to be pitied. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied above all others. (1Cor.15:19)

Miracles are meant to point to something bigger, more real, more alive, than themselves.  But when faith comes to depend on miracles, it ends up mistaking the sign for the destination, the shadow for the substance...Blessed are those who don't need the sign or the shadow.  (Things Unseen)

Blessed are those who believe regardless of whether or not their sickness is cured, their relationship is mended, or their business is profitable.  Blessed are those who are not relying on signs or shadows.  Blessed are those who are seeking someone and not something.

We hope in Christ not just because He feeds us, or heals us, or routs our enemies.  Indeed, sometimes he doesn't do any of that; sometimes He turns us away empty-bellied, cancer-ridden, defeated.  No, we hope in Christ because of who He is, because He has the words of eternal life, and because anyone who feeds on this bread will live forever. (Things Unseen)

Blessed are those who do not fall away on account of Jesus.

Friday, February 4, 2011

A work in progress...

"I like it."
"Why do you want to change it?"
"It's so neutral."
"It looks fine."

I heard all of those things and yet I KNEW my kitchen was supposed to be green.  So, a few weeks ago I  started tearing off the wallpaper.  When Richard got home he said, "Oh, I didn't know you were going to do that."  I reminded him that I have been talking about painting the kitchen for a year.  "Yeah, but I didn't know it was going to be today."  Once you start ripping off wallpaper, you pretty much have to do something.  There's no going back.

Here's what the walls looked like when we moved in--beige stripes.

Here's what was underneath the striped paper--flowered paper that had been painted over--UGH!
I took off what I could, then spackled over everything, sanded it, and painted over it with a primer.

Here's some of the greens I tried--No. No. No.

I finally found one I liked!  It's called "Soothing Green Tea".
I am so thankful for a husband who lets me choose the colors in our house even though the optometrist says I'm color blind.  
I don't think I'm color-blind.  I  just think I see the world in a different light...

Here are my supplies.  The most important one is the tea cup--Ginger Peach with honey please.

I did the best I could with what I had, but don't look too closely when you come over!  
It's NOT perfect.

Here's where we are keeping the dish drainer, flour, sugar, butter, and fruit until I finish.

Richard doesn't think the window seat is the best place for his coffee maker.

The first coat...

The second coat...

And one wall finished!

I was feeling very proud of myself and couldn't wait for my Mom's In Touch friends to come see what I had done.  The first one walked in the kitchen, looked around and said, "Do you like the color?"


Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Ministry of the Night

Let us not forget what the sorrow has done for us while it lasted; and what the night has been, though dark and sad.  It has been a night of grief, yet a night of blessing; a night in which there may have been many things which we could wish forgotten, yet many more which we should wish to be remembered forever... It was then that the Lord drew near, and the world was displaced, and self was smitten, and our will conquered, and faith grew, and hope became brighter, and the things that are unseen were felt to be real and true; Jerusalem above was seen by us as our proper home.
--Horatius Bonar 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

What is it?

After the Israelites left Egypt and were complaining of being hungry, God sent "thin flakes like frost on the ground".  When the people saw it they said, "What is it?"  From then on they called it manna, which means, "What is it?"
What it was, was God's provision for them.  What it was, was the answer to their prayers. (Give us something to eat.)  What it was, was a blessing wrapped up in the shape of a thin frosted flake.
Have you ever been blessed like that?
Sometimes we don't recognize God's provision or his blessing.  Sometimes his gifts are wrapped up in unusual packages.  Sometimes they don't look too tasty.  Sometimes God gives us situations or circumstances and we ask, "What is this?"
They ate the "bread of angels" for for 40 years.  To the younger generation that was all they ever ate!  They probably assumed that God would always provide for them in the same way.  They probably took his miraculous provision for granted.  What did they think  when they got to the promised land and the manna stopped?
Where's God?
Why has he abandoned us?
Where's my frosted flakes?????
Has God ever taken away something that you had assumed would always be there?
God can work in any way he wants to.  Just because he has done something one way for 40 years doesn't mean that is how he has always worked or how he always will work.  Be careful about assuming that you have God figured out.  Don't put him in a box and say "This is my God and this is how he works."
He is not a genie.
He is not your secretary.
He is not Santa Clause.
He is not your Grandpa.
He works in ways that are SO far beyond what we can think or imagine.

Hundreds of years after the wilderness experience, the descendants of those wanderers said to Jesus, "Show us a miraculous sign if you want us to believe in you.  What can you do?  After all, our ancestors ate manna while they journeyed through the wilderness!  Moses gave them bread from heaven to eat."
(Hey Jesus!  Give us some stuff!  Feed us!  We want what you can do for us!)

Jesus answered, "Moses didn't give them bread from heaven.  My Father did.  And now he offers you the true bread from heaven...Your ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, but they all died.  Anyone who eats the bread from heaven, however, will never die.  I am the living bread that came down from heaven."
(I give you me.)

God's greatest provision came wrapped up in a baby who became a man.
Surprising?  Yes
Unbelievable? Yes
A God who can feed a million people frosted flakes for 40 years can do anything he wants to.
He chose to come.
He chose to give us himself.