Jackson Five Friday: Be Vulnerable

Friends,

Today was our first day of summer and we had nothing special planned.  The boys slept in (well, technically Dub went to swim practice early but then napped).  I watched an episode of Leave It to Beaver with Sam.  Nate and Sam played basketball at the park, while Dub and I ran a few errands.  It was a very ordinary day, and no one complained, which as far as I’m concerned is a victory.  Sometimes the transition from scheduled life to freedom can be bumpy.

Then tonight we went to dinner with a friend of Will’s.  Louis has Will’s same job, except in Australia.  Louis is very engaging and a gifted storyteller, and I had a delightful time learning lots of fun tidbits.  We brought him up the mountain to show him around a little bit, and introduced him to the boys.

Louis had a great basketball story for Sam, and Sam used his best manners listening attentively and laughing at just the right moments.

But when Will left to take Louis back to his hotel, Sam came over to me with a look of concern on his face.

“You know, Mom,” he said, “He was very interesting, and I liked talking to him.  But when he was telling me the story I felt like I don’t know what to say other than ‘yeah’ and I’m afraid that if I just say ‘yeah, yeah’ that it’ll sound like I’m not interested, when really I’m very interested.”

I can’t even tell you how endearing I found Sam’s vulnerable little admission.  I can so relate to what he was describing, and I just adore him for being willing to share this inner struggle.  Some of the most meaningful conversations I have in life stem from Sam’s consistent candor.  His vulnerability makes me love him even more, which doesn’t even seem possible.

It doesn’t matter your age (you probably are not ten like Sam), vulnerability is always endearing.  Can you point to where admission of your own insecurities has helped strengthen your relationships?   I hope so.

Romans 12:3 says, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.”

May I be Sam-like in thinking of myself with sober-judgment, and please God don’t ever let him outgrow his willingness to candidly reveal insecurities.

Happy Friday and be vulnerable with someone this weekend!

With Love,

Kristie

Jackson Five Friday: Hospice

Hi Friends,

How does the word hospice make you feel?  I think it sets off a mild anxiety attack in many of us, and for others it triggers full on panic and utter despair.  But I don’t think it should.  The word really represents a paradigm shift — from actively treating the underlying disease state to focusing instead on the comfort of the patient.  It does not really indicate anything at all about how long the patient may or may not live.  Sometimes when the focus is taken off treatment, patients rally and do much, much better.

My mom was hospitalized on May 10 with very severe COPD.  The hospital administered IV steroids and put her on a machine to ease her breathing, but she kept getting worse.  The respiratory therapist kept adjusting the machine to higher and higher settings, but she did not improve, and she just wanted to be home.  I spent two nights with her at the hospital, where she was poked and weighed and examined almost continuously.  She’d just drift off to sleep and it would be time to check her blood pressure again.  There were alarms and wires and disruptions galore — despite best intentions and practices, hospitals are not always a peaceful hub of healing.  When I called to make sure her machine at home could match the settings in the hospital, I was dumbfounded to learn that the machine she’d been sitting on in the hospital was inferior to what she had at home.  We could not get her home fast enough!

We left the hospital on Tuesday afternoon, with a few prescriptions and hospice care lined up.  My mom and I sang together on the twenty-minute ride, and I knew getting her out of the hospital was the right thing.  I fully expected her to rally at home.  I really did. But she has exceeded all expectations.  She is doing so so much better!

My mom is a medical marvel.  I’ve been telling her she should offer to be the subject of research because she has muscles that refuse to atrophy.  Her inability to breathe easily means she just doesn’t do much.  She lives a very sedentary life.  Yet if you watch her walk to the bathroom she is steady and strong.  In the hospital she was trying to sit up and accidentally moved into that Pilates move, teaser.  Both her arms and legs were straight up in a V formation.  Do you know what kind of abs she must have to do that?  And I’d be pretty comfortable wagering she could still — at seventy-five — do a push-up.  Sadly, I did not get even a hint of this God-given strength.  Unlike my mom, I am weak and arthritic.  The atrophy-resistant muscles are not part of my DNA.  I can only hope the trait skips a generation and maybe my boys are blessed with it.

My mom is also a spiritual marvel.  She has the best attitude in the world.  She is full of gratitude and fully trusts that God is in control.   I’m amazed how she holds in tension the will to get better and submission to God’s plan, even if His plan is that she won’t live much longer.  Maybe it sounds cold to write about this so frankly, but I hope not.  Despite society’s idiotic avoidance of reality, we are all going to die.  My mom has modeled so much wisdom, faith and grace for me my whole life.  Is it any wonder then that she would be setting a high bar in this season too?

Yesterday the hospice nurse visited my mom and she told her that she has a patient that she’s had for THREE YEARS!  She told my mom, “Maybe you will beat that.”  The trajectory of my mom’s post-hospital recovery has been amazing and I am praying it continues.  But I am also grateful for every day I get to talk to her or see her.   None of us is guaranteed another breath anyway.  Today could be my last.  It could be yours.  I hope you know where you are going when you die.  Making Jesus your Lord and Savior is the most important thing you can do, no matter how long you live.

In the words of Paul, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)

With love and gratitude for all your prayers,

Kristie

Jackson Five Friday: Sunrise Sisters

 

 

Hi Friends,

When I was a little girl, less than 10, I wrote a story about a princess who fell madly in love with the boy who took care of her royal horse.  I don’t remember any of their names, but I remember feeling oddly attached to the characters.  When I quit my job to stay home with my beloved Baby Dub, I wrote another story — a full length novel, about a woman who knew great love and overcame incredible heartache.  The premise of the novel was that love is a risk worth taking.  I shopped it around to a few agents and publishers, but nothing became of it.  Then I met an agent who told me, “Listen, you’ve learned so much from writing a whole novel.  Treat it as your learning lab.  Put it on the shelf and move on.”  That was the most liberating advice I’d ever been given.

And move on I did.  I started writing nonfiction — stories from my own life.  I wrote about how God was faithful in my own heartaches and losses, and I wrote lighthearted pieces about raising a family.  In 2008, I started this blog, Spur, and have loved crafting every single word.  It has been mostly for my own benefit, and if a few of my words have encouraged someone, well then, that’s icing on the cake.  Writing is an outlet for me.  Carving out an  hour to write is an indulgence.  I’d rather write than eat ice cream, or get a massage, or go shopping, or almost anything.  It is the pinnacle of me-time.

Then just about six weeks ago I was watching the sunrise over the Atlantic in a spot that has been special to me for many years.  The concept for a story flooded my mind.  It was based on a place, on friendship, on beholding the sunrise.  Next Friday, Sunrise Sisters, will be available on Amazon as an eBook.  The kindle app is free and easy to download for pretty much any device.   It would mean the world to me if you’d buy and read this novella.  It is the first in a series of three, and I pray that it will be a fun read with some substantive take-aways.

Your prayers for the success of Sunrise Sisters would be greatly appreciated.

With Love,

Kristie

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.   Jeremiah 29:11