Blessings are Blessings Despite Setbacks

odd_sleeping_airports_4In case you didn’t read last week’s blog, I gave up my seat on a noon flight to Denver for a hefty voucher.  I agreed to take the four pm flight. The hours passed quickly, but as boarding time approached, discouraging announcements began. The plane that was to take us on our one hour and thirty minute flight was stuck somewhere else, but would be here soon. You don’t have to travel much to know that’s a reason to start getting nervous. The next announcement informed us that flight was canceled, but one coming in from Mexico would be available in about thirty minutes.  The plane needed to be cleared since it was an international flight.

Things went downhill from there. They loaded about half of us, including me, then deplaned us about thirty minutes later. After a significant delay, they put us on the plane again.  We flew to Denver and circled and circled and circled.  There were no open gates. Fuel was becoming an issue. Long story short, they flew us back to Kansas City. We deplaned and the flight was canceled. Enough with the details, they finally got us to Denver too many hours to remember after our scheduled time.  Passenger pickup was a zoo, worse than the Christmas holidays.  My long suffering son-in-law was finally able to get through the maze of people and cars to pick me up. We arrived at his house after midnight.

I wish I could report the travel nightmare ended there, but my return trip was similar. Lots of storms in the Denver area, as well as, other parts of the country made flying less efficient than driving.  Conversations with fellow passengers, including one young couple whose flight had been canceled twenty four hours before, made me feel lucky. They’d both missed a day of work. To make matters worse, she’d broken her foot and was wearing a leg brace so she could catch the canceled flight and see a doctor at home.

Though the delays stole time from my vacation and created disappointment for my waiting grandkids, inconvenience for my son-in-law and extreme strength and patience from my exhausted husband, the blessings remain. I worked hard not to let the struggles overshadow the blessings. Gratitude for the good stuff and letting go of the other will serve me best.  I need lots of practice on that.

Big Blessings or Small Miracles

Air plane imageI find it almost more difficult to accept blessings and even miracles – a word that is hard to write – than to accept struggles. Why me? We ask ourselves when something goes wrong. Doug taught me it’s just as valid to ask “why not me?” If I embrace that, I must ask the second question when it comes to blessings/miracles. “Why not me?”

When does a blessing achieve miracle status?  Let’s keep it simple. One definition of blessing is a divine benefit or gift. Miracle can be defined as a supernatural act of God. Sounds kind of subjective to me.  Sometimes nudges alert me to blessings and those morph into miracles – things that simply were not possible in my mind. I’ll let you make your own decision.

The day I left for my rescheduled trip to visit my daughter and her family in Colorado, things began to unravel. Doug woke up with a worse cough than he’d had recently. Gone was the good feeling I’d had about leaving him for six days. My chest hurt and I was coughing worse from a four week bout with asthma that I thought was over. I checked email and realized I hadn’t checked in for my flight on Southwest. Oh boy, I would be C – 1000 and get a middle seat at the back of the airplane. I checked in at the Southwest website and instead of getting a boarding pass, they offered only a security pass. The message said” No seat assignment. Go to the gate for your boarding pass.”

What did that mean? Is the flight overbooked? Will I be bumped and miss the flight? I printed the security pass and added that to my worry list.

I decided to call my doctor and let him know I was still coughing. Maybe he could prescribe something. The physician said to come in right away, he wanted to see me. It was after eight o’clock and I needed to leave for the airport around ten.  I was all packed, but I had several last minute duties. Thirty minutes later I was back home armed with prescriptions and instructions. His office is about ten minutes away but still, it’s hard not to call that a miracle.

I had plenty of time to complete the items on my last minute list. Doug got me to the airport right on time. I dumped my huge suitcase at the outside check-in, found out I was a pre-checked passenger and breezed through security. At the gate, I showed the attendant my non-boarding pass and said. “I was afraid you were overbooked.”

“We are, would you like to volunteer to take the next plane about four hours from now? We’ll refund the cost of your ticket and give you a voucher for that and an additional $300.” Long story short, I’ll read and write for four hours and pocket several free trips to visit Denver. I felt very blessed. There is more to this story. As they say, it ain’t over til it’s over. Tune in next week.

 

 

It’s a God Thing

HeavensI don’t care what you call it, some blessings are too big, too far off my radar to think of as anything less than small miracles, maybe even medium ones.

One week before a writing conference I planned to attend, the one I wrote about last week, Doug was hospitalized. He was released on Monday before the Thursday I was scheduled to leave. The event took place from Thursday afternoon until Saturday about one o’clock.  I waffled about attending with everything that was happening to Doug.

Being the independent guy he is, and knowing how much I looked forward to being there, he encouraged me to keep my plan.  Linda, my writing buddy was coming, and I had only seen her  once in the last nine months. She’d fought and won a long and arduous battle with breast cancer during that time.

I knew it would be difficult to enjoy my time away. Worry would cloud my mind, and make it difficult to shake the expectation that I might have to make a screaming trip home at any moment. Was it worth it?

Doug was adamant that I go. He promised he would keep his medicine and his phone close by at all times.

While in the hospital, I texted his daughter regarding his condition. In response, Katey called. She lives in New York and is unable to visit much.  Her last trip to see us was about a year ago and there was nothing on the calendar.

We chatted about Doug’s condition. “I’ve been wanting to visit.”

“That would be great. He always cheers up when you call, and especially when you visit. When do you think you could come?”

“I’m thinking next Thursday. I could stay until late Sunday afternoon.”

What? My jaw dropped and I couldn’t talk for a minute. “If you do, you will be an answer to an unspoken prayer.”

“Let me check flights and I’ll let you know.”

I left for my weekend with complete confidence. Very levelheaded and practical, Katey would handle anything that might come up with her dad. Not only that, but he’d be enjoying the weekend instead of being alone. It doesn’t get any better than that.

My heavenly travel agent handled everything without any suggestions from me. What a blessing on the journey.

 

 

Blessings of a New Year

New Years 2016

As 2015 winds down, I’m tempted to say good riddance. My husband and I have weathered some serious health issues and experienced my mother-in-law’s sad and rapid decline. We’re dealing well with the inevitability of his mom’s death any time now, realizing she had a long full life, and will be so much better off in “the next phase” as Doug says. Our sadness at losing her is inescapable but we recognize her time has come.

I realize that this year has also been filled with much joy and many blessings. Family and friends have offered and given compassionate support of all kinds. Grandchildren have provided memories and moments that bring laughter and joy. It’s my job to bring the good stuff to the forefront and send the bad stuff to the background.

I face the New Year with hope and anticipation.  My hip surgery is behind me and I’m recouping well – a sign that I”ll soon be able to exercise and play again. Doug has come through the worry of my surgery and rehab and is more himself.  He’s  had some good news, though we pray for much more.

This year was filled with serious challenges, but the routine of life and the small things keep me sane. Part of the blessings of the New Year include one of those routine small things.  We get to feel a fresh start and make some New Year resolutions.  It disappoints me that once again I will be recycling  many past declarations. Though some progress has been made,  I keep wishing I could move onto completely new ones.

Hope lures us into believing this year will be different. How wonderful! In 2015, I learned a secret weapon to increase my odds.  As with many powerful lessons I’ve experienced, it’s a tiny change in the way of thinking about something. Instead of asking for bad habits or lack of discipline to be taken away, I’m going to consider giving them away.

 

Plans – What’s the Point?

762aa4a07562dceb491177ba6b4c7c18Once my kids grew up, and I only worked part-time, I expected to have more control over my plans. I used to rage and cuss or be extremely disappointed when the day didn’t go like I intended. But lately I’ve been taking the”cure”. Health issues and lots of other things go nose to nose with me and I’m forced to back down. Sometimes it’s just exhaustion or emotional overload.

Here are some recent examples of the “cure”. I planned to attend a writing conference last weekend. My mother-in-law became ill. I was afraid we’d lose her. Doug felt stressed and exhausted. I just couldn’t imagine being an hour away from them – not for their sake but for mine.

I was scheduled to have hip surgery the following Thursday. In trying to get ready for that, I’d planned several pesky appointments. I needed a hair cut and color, manicure, crown, flu shot, pneumonia vaccination and my toes were hurting me now that they were housed in shoes instead of flip flops. It struck me that might be a problem for the upcoming surgery, but the doc and I decided it would be okay. After the procedure, I looked at my three sore, bloody toes, and realized I might’ve made a big mistake. Worry reared its ugly head, but I ignored it as best I could.

I went to my pre-op appointment and a class on joint replacement at the hospital. I sat up straight when the nurse said “No pedicures before the operation.”

Pedicures are a problem? Seriously? After class I hustled to my surgeon’s office in the attached medical building. He wasn’t available, but they put me in touch with his nurse, who scheduled an appointment for me to see the doctor’s PA two days later. He looked at my toes and shook his head. Long story short, odds were I could make it through surgery okay, but there was an increased possibility of infection and the resulting consequences were major.  Infections with metal joints are hard to manage. Chances are the joint would have to be removed, the infection resolved and another replacement performed. This wasn’t a tough decision for me. The surgery is postponed. I hope the doctor can fit me in his schedule soon after my toes are fully healed. No plan yet.

Now for the upside. I came to my senses and realized that I was going down for the third time. I canceled my weekend plans, and felt blessed with some calmness. The conference director voiced her concern and kindly and generously refunded my fee.

Oddly, I’m not upset about waiting for surgery. My mother-in-law, though still  frailer than before, is  better. I had a nice visit with her yesterday and expect to have another when I see her next. Doug felt terrible. I’m glad I didn’t have to leave him early that morning. The Royals’ game was stupendous.

Not much in my life has gone as planned lately, but it’s working out. I still think planning is good, but it’s no longer the dictator of my days. I’m learning this moment-by-moment stuff and surrendering my worry a bit. Backing off from rigid planning and control frees me up to better look for Blessings on the Journey.

Abundant Blessings

3 Kids in the River

Blessings Hand Drawn Lettering and Script Typography by Hearts and Laserbeams | http://heartsandlaserbeams.com

Sometimes blessings come so abundantly, I don’t have time to post them. I hope my writing coach buys that! Recently, I spent eight days in Colorado with my grandkids and their mom and dad. Penelope is eight, Millie is six and Otto is eighteen months.

The weather was sunny and hot. We went to my favorite hiking trail. I’m not in shape to do much of a mountain hike so Bobolink Trail ranks as my favorite. It’s flat and close to Jamie’s house. A river is an absolute must when I consider a trail, preferably one with lots of rocks. Splashing rocks into any kind of water is a timeless joy for kids and watching them is a timeless joy for me.

The river was clear as you can see in the pictures. Even 100 year old Sadie dog couldn’t resist getting in to share the fun. penelope and sadie in the river

Though my troubles were the same, those were moments of pure joy. Time stood still and we were all acutely in the present. Even when Otto, who sought out bigger and bigger rocks to splash, dropped one on his foot, his dismay was short-lived.    IMG_0431

Penelope and Millie worked on their Poem a Day Journal which delighted me and made the memory all the sweeter. Unscheduled time gives opportunity for such treasures. Too bad it’s so rare.

I plan to visit that river often, and I pray we will make many more happy memories. But they will be different, each one never to be repeated. I’ll call up this memory during difficult times ahead and remember my blessings.