Sunday, December 11, 2011

Blankets and Blessings

The One-Eyed Wonder Strikes Again:  I'm pretty sure you all know that humor is my main coping mechanism.  Well, it's going to be in full swing the next few weeks.  Long story short:  a surgery to remove an eye cyst revealed it was the little (already blind) eye that was collapsing in on itself, and the entire eyeball will need to be removed in the next few weeks.  Joy.  

I can only see with one eye already, so that's not going to be different.  Losing the actual eyeball will be an adjustment...but an adventure, too...right?  Right.  We're going with that.   

So what happens next:  The missing eyeball will be replaced with an implant, my eye muscles will be re-attached to that, add a quick skin graft and a brand new shell (you have got to be kidding me) and VOILA, I'll be back to new.  Those are the facts.  I'm not ready to blog the emotions, so that's what you're getting right now.  The adventure begins... 

In the hospital, they try to keep you warm with those heated blankets - problem is, you're nervous and anxious and the piece of paper they pretend is a warm blanket really does little to calm you, much less actually bring warmth.  Thankfully, I was blanketed in love over the last week - just a few of the many, many blessings:  

blessings:  sunrises full of color

blessings:  small town living =  lights hung over the main road in town
 blessingscrosses overhead - prayers everywhere

blessings:  finding emu oil at the grocery store
(It was right above the Arnica Montana which I needed to 
keep the facial bruising to a minimum, and emu anything cracks me up.)
blessings dear friends who hold your hand and pray with you and read random Bible passages and tell you silly jokes at just the right moment and love you and support you every step of the way 

blessings:  rudimentary eye patches that cover up the carnage beneath.  Oy.
blessings:  um...tape that eventually comes off your face?!  Ouch.

blessings:  care packages sent by Mom and Dad with lots of goodies and love
(I'm not sharing the marshmallows)

blessings:  cheerful cards and Christmas-scented soap.
(don't eat the soap, Bren)
blessings:  cookies delivered by friends just passing through town
(Snickerdoodles are GONE)

blessings:  sugar-coated lemon-blueberry muffins, straight from the oven

(I'm going to gain 100lbs, but I am certainly loved)
blessings:  lots of chocolate and conversation about funny stories at work
blessings:  freshly made bread delivered by the baker herself
blessings:  cheeseballs ready in the fridge.  MINE.
blessings:  tuna sandwiches after Saturday morning basketball games
 blessings:  medicine that keeps me sane and dulls the pain of the stitches in my eye

blessings:  cards that move (and look like they only have 1 eye, too)
blessings:  crazy pictures of the moon which remind you 
of the little children who came to visit and made your heart sing

blessings:  intentionally mismatched socks that make me smile
blessings:  friends that let me smash the heck out of the frozen ice pack when I realize my life is about to change and just let me be who I need to be in that moment. 

I used one main telephone to answer house calls this week, meaning the other one logged the calls:  58 calls came in over the last 3 days.  And that's not counting texts, e-mails and calls on my cell phone.  I am blessed beyond belief to have such supportive, prayer-filled people in my life - While I am NOT looking forward to the next surgery, I am confident the blanket of love will be thick and warm!

Go West!

 "Go West, Young Man! 
Go West, Young Woman!"

It's CHOIR time at Flagstone!  
101 singing little people.  UNBELIEVABLE!

THERE's the real gold - the fact that these kiddos get up before school 
and sing together each week!  With JOY!  
They are amazing and make my heart sing!!

At first, I thought my kids were writing to me in German.
"Does everyone body wear a cowboy costume?"   Yes, little one.

"How much are tickets?" NOTHING!  NADA!  FREE FREE FREE!

 There would NO decorations had my mother 
not sent some from Wisconsin.  Thank you, Mom!!

 There's GOLD in them thar hills!

 See the list of a bazillion people on the wall?
Note to self:  pick a musical with 4-5 parts...not 45!

 Proud of my little beaners:  they brought in 
canned beans(as the cowboys and cowgirls would have eaten) 
to benefit Metro CareRing!  Love it!

 He was READY for our concert....this was only the last rehearsal!

  These children are either (1) imitating their music teacher's next injury or (2) nailing the choreography to one of the Wagon Train songs.  

 Ok, so Chuck was just a bit ready to be the Wagon Master...

....REALLY ready!  Go, Chuck!

 WOOHOO!  During our evening concert!

 Yikes!  I look a bit fierce!  
"Passionate" as my friend Cathy says.  
Look out!

 How to Get Your Out of Town Friends to Your Evening Concert Map.

 The Bethany Gang!
Stacie, Ruth Ann, Brenda, Andrea, Sarah, and Bruce (Spronk)
Go West!

Inflatable Dogs and the Men in the Tree

Doesn't everybody have an Entertainment Response Team vehicle?
(they should)
(Brad's out of Iraq and back in the US!)

 Squeezed in TWO quick performances at the City and County Building in Denver this year - the City asked me to play after the Parade of Lights on December 2.  

So picture this:  I'm quietly waiting in the bell room on the 4th floor of this huge, empty building while the rest of Denver is out on the streets, watching the parade pass by.  Rather amusing.   

Flipped back and forth between the video of the Parade and the Live-streaming of the Messiah concert over at Bethany on my phone.  Ah, technology.
(Brad's out of Iraq and back in the US!)
 My view from INSIDE the building.
(Brad's out of Iraq and back in the US!)

 Where others were gathered outdoors.
(Brad's out of Iraq and back in the US!)

 I choose to see a B for Brenda and a G for Greenwald.
The rest of you can see GAB....which could also stand for Brenda Greenwald.
(Brad's out of Iraq and back in the US!)

 Doesn't everyone turn a corner and see a gigantic, inflatable dog!?
(Brad's out of Iraq and back in the US!)

Operation Tree Overload:  
Putting up my tree, complete with tiny, green Army Men. 
Have I mentioned Brad is no longer in Iraq!?!?  
And is back in the US!?!??!  BOOYA!

Camp Dryer Sheet

Welcome to Camp Dryer Sheet!
Or...Crazy Ways to Injure Your Face, Part #1.

Most people celebrate Thanksgiving by gathering food
and people together in one place and giving thanks for all one's blessings.  

I remembered to do all that.  And added my own flair.  
Including a pinched nerve and an inflatable bed.  We begin...

Let me begin where it matters:  the kiddos.
Kids were totally on board collecting food 
and necessary items for Metro CareRing.

 "Fill to the brim our cup of blessings..."
as the liturgy goes. BOOYA!!

...and CRACK!  
One late load of laundry + one really tired teacher + one nearly invisible
dryer sheet on the tile floor = FACE PLANT into door frame of bathroom door.  
Mother of pearl, I think I shifted the frame.

I spend a night in agony, praying I hadn't fractured my face, 
keeping ice on my ever-growing nose.  OUCH.  

 Somewhere in all of this, I actually UNLOADED
  all those pounds of food with Sarah over at church. 

Total numbers put it just over 900lbs!  WOW!

I know, I know...sometimes I just don't think.

Full, great morning at church.  Couldn't hold up the hymnbook
or move my neck, but I was fine.  Right?!?  Wrong.
When the weeping wouldn't stop, I figured it   might be time to get this checked out.  Didn't break anything, although serious crushing and moving of neck bones and nerve pinching.  Oy.  Why does "long suffering" have to be the fruit that seems to appear most often!?

Welcome to Camp Dryer Sheet, the only place I could find rest and where I wasn't afraid to fall out of my bed onto the floor, far, far below. Thank goodness for friends who understood that I I felt much better closer to the ground!  (Thanks, Ruth Ann!)

My face might have been killing me, 
but that sunrise was AMAZING!


I know the tipped-over plant SAYS to smile...
 Yeah, not so much.

 I think I originally heated up this soup on a Thursday...

Week one of Advent. 

 Still on the floor.  Still swelling face.  Ouch.

 Cheer up, Brenda!  We're here to help you smile!
Emma, Madi and Nicole stopped on by the house.

 Yes, I realize it looks like I'm tossing Madi into the air,
FAT CHANCE.  Notice Camp Dryer Sheet is still going strong. 

Okay, spirits are a big higher.  
Thank goodness for friends who know children will do the trick!  
(Thanks, Nic!)
No, I'm not pulling my face in weird directions.
That IS my face.
Bruises and all.  Awesome.  Grrrr.

Hooray for care packages from good friends!  (Thanks, Spronks!)
Oh, SNAP!  The soup!  It's still in there, isn't it!?