Random Acts of "Kindness"

Archive for January, 2018

PARTY

My sister-in-law’s husband passed in December. His death was expected. He had battled with health issues for many years and was ready to go home. In the hospital again, he mentioned to his family that he was tired of living. They listened to his request and disconnected his breathing apparatus.

January brought another death in the family. This time it was another sister-in-law’s husband who passed. He was in his 80’s, battled diabetes and other health issues for years. Problems intensified suddenly, leading to hospitalization and a passing. Both of the deaths were back East. Weather conditions made it difficult for us to travel.

Death usually comes to our family in threes. When we came home from visiting our youngest daughter, a friend phoned. She is 84, and in the hospital. A blood clot in her lungs after Christmas required medical attention. She told me that there were no open beds in her hospital. She asked me if I knew her husband was in the hospital also. I had to admit the I was unaware. No one had phoned me. Her husband had a touch of the flu, and possibly either a stroke or a heart attack. Because of their advanced age and health conditions, they have a health care worker who didn’t like the color on his face and phoned their daughter. My friend was hoping to come home on Sunday. She will be on an expensive blood thinner for a year. Her husband had an artery opened to improve his blood flow. I’m not sure when he will be released.

About that time I realized that there had been two recent deaths in the family. I can’t say I was waiting for number three, but I wasn’t surprised when my phone rang and announced another passing. This time it was a friend from the camper. She was 98 years young. Even though she had lost some of her vision, she was active at Light House for the Blind, listened to books, exercised and remained as active as she could.

A fall caused a rapid decline in her health. She didn’t want to go to a hospital so her family arranged for 24 hour hospice in their home. Even though her funeral was closer, our unpredictable weather dictated a card sent rather than a trip.

Since the last two deaths were within two days, I told someone that they were having a party in heaven. I don’t want to admit that I’m getting older too. But I’m paying more attention to weather conditions than I used too.

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WARNING

Since I neither see nor hear “my friends in high places” — I try to pay attention. When I opened the bible to Isaiah 47:11 and read “Disaster shall befall you which you cannot allay,” I was worried. My youngest daughter and family were on the road, going to visit her sister. I wrapped the family in my prayers. I should have wrapped myself.

Late in the afternoon — both hands full — I headed upstairs, only to have my foot slide off the stair, causing me to fall backwards. I couldn’t stop the fall and landed on my back on the first floor. It was only a couple of steps up, somehow I turned the corner and sprawled on the floor. I aged my husband by 10 years and also my son. I was glad the disaster predicted was for myself instead of my daughter and her family. I wasn’t glad that I had caused concern not only to them but to myself.

THANK YOU LORD — I wasn’t seriously injured. No broken bones — slight injury to various body parts. I was lucky. Reviewing the fall, I surmised that wearing the slipper socks wasn’t in my best interest. They don’t have the traction needed for the steps.

This was the second time that I fell in December. The first was heading down the basement stairs, both hands full. I surmised at that time that I was too weighed down — out of balance. Thankfully that time I landed standing on my feet, injuring my side but no broken bones.

Two falls in one month, thankfully no bones broken but I didn’t like the direction I was going in. Was a message trying to get through and I wasn’t paying attention? My son, who lives in our home, had recently purchased a new blood pressure machine. I checked my blood pressure and was surprised at the reading. Extremely high. When the news was shared with the rest of my family, they were very concerned. Some thought I should go to the emergency room immediately. I determined to monitor the situation.

My readings over the next few days decreased but not into a zone that I liked. I promised I would go to the doctor. When I phoned for an appointment, mentioned my problem and gave my current reading, the person on the phone said it was too high, to come in that afternoon.

When my blood pressure readings were examined on the computer, I learned that they had been in the high range for some time. Even though I didn’t have headaches or other high blood pressure problems, meds were prescribed. Since I remember a time when my aunt had a serious stroke, I’m not against taking medicine. After all, I’m no longer young.

Making my children happy, I signed up for a well being check next month. I had promised my youngest daughter that I would schedule a doctors visit this year. A visit was arranged as well as a few other tests.

Heading for the pharmacy, I reviewed the past month. “My friends” listen to my problems, and often help. I’m hoping this was the action I needed to take. I really don’t want another fall. The next one might be more dangerous.

I’m taking other positive steps. I need to improve my balance and strength. Exercise is in my daily plan.

DAILY HELP

If you read my thought rambles on a regular basis you know a few things about me. First, you know that I am aware of “friends in high places” who help me with my life. Not a day goes by that I don’t notice their involvement if I am paying attention. Second, I have mentioned many times that I neither see nor hear them. Their messages get through in many different ways. I randomly open the bible each morning — eyes closed, pick a verse. I’ll admit that I’m not pleased when I open to Job, or to Daniel “in the furnace”. That usually means that there is trouble ahead or that I’m experiencing difficulties at the moment. Sometimes I open to one of the verses that remind me I have a job to do. Isaiah 42: “Here is my servant whom I uphold.” I don’t memorize verses so I can’t quote others that pop up regularly . But “Whom shall I send” or “I’ve known you before you were born,” are often in my sight. They usually are reminders that I have work to do, a thought ramble to write or — pay attention, someone needs your help.

My second book of the morning is Queen Of Angels by Janice T. Connell. I don’t remember the year I acquired it, it was after my father passed over. I attended a book signing at Transitions, met the author, listened to her stories and bought the book. I am often reminded that I am doing too much: “Cure For Overwork, or Suffering Turned to Joy — hello pain. Sometimes I’m reminded that I have “help”. “Angels Turned to Playmates and Confidants.”

My third practice of the morning is to open my Inner Reflections calendar randomly. It is comprised of 52 photographs with writing by Paramahansa Yogananda, a spiritual teacher of the 20th century. I also first acquired the calendar at Transitions and even though the store is closed, I regularly order a new calendar each year. Looking through it, I was amazed at the number of times I have opened to different photos with their words of wisdom. I always date the photo on the day it is picked. Some have many dates noted, others have only one or two.

Just for the fun of it I have just finished flipping through the calendar and noting the number of times I have visited each page. Of 52 photographs I have visited 14 photos a number of 214 times. I have many favorites, but I can state that they are not usually the ones I pick for the day. The highest total was 28, the day after my mother’s birthday. It is a photo of a glasswinged butterfly on oleander flowers. The message is: “Love only what is beautiful and pure … See, hear, smell, taste, and touch only what is good …..” Most of the messages revolve around LOVE or follow the path or helping others.

ARTIST

I really didn’t think I could draw, let alone paint. Growing up, I wasn’t often found with a pen or pencil in my hand, sketching something or doodling. I don’t think that I took time to play. I knew that an uncle attended the Art Institute in Chicago, an uncle in Sweden painted as did one of my cousins. I knew there was artistic talent in my family, I just didn’t know that I had some. Then our campground had a bring your body and we will provide materials and instruction to paint a picture. I had the time and signed up for the experience. I was amazed at the painting that was produced. It still hangs in our room addition at the camper. I also realized that I had fun and wanted to explore painting in oil.

I purchased many books, containing pictures that I liked — with instructions, and produced many canvases. At the time I was working. I was so pleased with some of them that I took them to work and sold a few. A fellow worker liked a painting I did of Moonlit waves against the rocks. She planned to take it to Sweden with her. After a few years, life became busy and I stopped painting. My family has been suggesting that I take up a paint brush again.

Times have changed. My husband has emphysema and the scent of oil and turpentine would not be beneficial. I thought acrylic paint might be an option. Years ago I knew how to mix oil paint and how to blend colors. I had a good idea of how to accomplish a painting. Acrylic is different. First, it dries quickly. That can be an advantage, but not when the paint dries on the pallet or on the canvas too quickly.

Since I have remembered how I taught myself to paint before, I have picked up a couple of books. Maybe I haven’t spent enough time investigating the artists information or they don’t have what I need. My first concern is how to keep the paint usable on the pallet. The various books haven’t dwelt on that subject.

Thankfully, I have “friends in high places.” They might be involved in my picking up a paint brush again. Yesterday I stopped at Half Price Books for a cup of coffee. I wanted to check books on a writer I’m enjoying at the moment. Did they have any of her books? No! But entering the store, a display on painting caught my interest and I found a book on Acrylic painting that might have the information that I’m looking for. The date on the price tag shows that it is a recent acquire. The book looks promising and came home with me. I’m hoping to begin reading it soon. I have paints, I have canvas — now I have a book that might help me with the task. Once I have the basics, I might be ready for the more advanced books.

Two last thoughts — Christmas presents — I have TWO new paintings to put up on our walls. The artists were both my granddaughter and grandson. Our grandson read a story he is writing. I was impressed not only by the story, but also his imagination. It was well written! Perfect gifts for a proud gramma!

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