Monday, June 11, 2012

An Unexpected Twist in our Road

Casually she sauntered toward me. "Mom, I think Dad is testing Robyn."

I was tending to the bed of weeds where I dream of seeing flowers. Not half an hour earlier, Kelly had returned home from picking up Robyn from her Home Alone Safely course.

"What? What do you mean?"

"Dad is on the lying on the garage floor and I think he's testing Robyn," she laughed.

At that very moment, Robyn came barreling around the corner, panic in her eyes, fear in her voice. "MOM! Come NOW! Something's wrong with Dad!" she cried.

I started walking toward the garage. She is the dramatic one, after all.

I had heard a yell just a few minutes before, but to be honest I thought maybe one of the cats had been hit by a car and I didn't want to go check. So I kept pulling weeds.

Something finally registered and I dropped everything and raced the rest of the way. I think that may have been the last time I fully inhaled Friday afternoon.

I'll spare you all the graphic details and just say that Kelly was, indeed, lying unconscious on the garage floor. I sent the girls to the house to get the phone and then followed because they were taking too long. Back at Kelly's side, I called 911 and the ambulance was dispatched.

As the dispatcher was part way through her assessment, Kelly started to stir. I pleaded with him to stay still. I didn't know how he got there. It didn't work. I tried to physically hold him down - who was I kidding? He pushed his way up and started stumbling into the yard. He was mumbling something, but wasn't making any sense.

Alyssa had taken Robyn into the house to try to calm her down and to pack bags to take with them. I yelled for them to come out - to bring a chair off the deck to the grass so I could try to get Kelly to sit down and for the other girl to pick up the phone I had dropped and talk to the dispatcher. He sat. Thankfully. And he stayed put, but he was confused.

My perception of time was completely thrown off, but we live 15 minutes from town and the ambulance missed our corner so I'm going to say it was at least 20 minutes before Kelly was coherent and could remember anything. It was just before the ambulance pulled in to the yard that he was starting to put a few things together.

While "guarding" Kelly (making sure he stayed put) and waiting for the ambulance to arrive, I had called a friend to make arrangements for the girls, so once the paramedics took over it didn't take me long to gather a couple things and head to town. They ran a couple tests and started an IV before they left the yard so I left before they did.

The first thing I heard when I walked up to the nurses' desk at the hospital was the paramedic talking to the doctor. When they finished I explained that it was my husband they had been talking about. After arriving at our house and getting the details, the paramedic immediately believed Kelly had had a seizure. Before even seeing him, the doctor agreed and told me this would mean an automatic 6-12 months of no driving for Kelly.

I confess: the first word that entered my mind was not nice.

I was filled with fear. (As if I wasn't already.) Fear for Kelly's health - and now for his job. 98% of his job is driving to the rigs. If he couldn't drive, then what?

The paramedics had checked Kelly's blood sugar as soon as they arrived. It was normal. They did an EKG as soon as they had him in the hospital - also normal. There wasn't anything else to do for him at our small hospital, so they loaded him back up in the ambulance and took him to the nearest city for more tests. They did a head CT and more blood work. The head CT was clear and if they had the results from the blood tests that quickly, I can only assume they were good too because they didn't say anything about them. Before they left Beaverlodge, Kelly's color had returned and he remembered everything leading up to the time when he passed out.

It was Friday night and he had passed all the tests they did to determine if "anything would kill him in the next three days" (comforting words, right?!). They weren't going to call in everyone to do all the other tests he needed so they discharged him to come back for the tests as an outpatient.

Within five hours of the beginning of all this, he we were driving home together, relieved and grateful that he was ok, but still with many questions and a strict "no driving for one month" restriction.

This is pretty much where we're at today.

Already we can see God's hand in all this. I very nearly went to Calgary for the weekend - he would have been home alone when this happened if I had. This didn't happen just a few minutes earlier when he was driving with both girls in the truck. He didn't fall just a fraction of an inch from where he was - if he had, he would have hit and most likely cut his head on the way down. He doesn't have a concussion. (Head on a concrete floor, anyone?) The first thing Kelly's boss said when I called him from the hospital was, "Don't worry. We'll put him on a modified work plan." And the strength and confidence we both felt during all of this cannot be explained any other way.

We're only at the beginning of this particular journey, but we're both hopeful that it will be a short one. Kelly goes for an EEG tomorrow and an MRI sometime this week too. Then we'll follow up with our family doctor to hear the verdict. We're praying that they will agree that all this was caused by Kelly having worked all night Thursday night (he was called out at 10pm and didn't get home until 5:30 am) and the fact that he hadn't eaten anything. We're praying that there is nothing more serious at the root of all this and that we can get back to our normal routine...

... but we're not discounting the fact that right here - this place of uncertainty and discomfort - is where we are most reliant on God. It's where we learn to trust him more and where we learn to follow his lead. It's what we use to teach our children and it's what we use to boldly show you just exactly what our faith means to us.

"The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights." Habakkuk 3:19

I heard this verse both Thursday evening and Friday morning before all this happened. My study notes say, "God will give his followers strength and confidence in difficult times. They will run surefooted as deer across rough and dangerous terrain." I don't believe in coincidence so I believe that God was speaking to me through it and I'm claiming it as a message intended directly for me for the rest of this journey and I'm thanking him for it...

...may he rub off a few more rough edges because of this.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Minivan Meal Idea

First off, let me start by acknowledging that this is not a food blog. What this *is* is a place for me to share my thoughts, insights and growth with you in the hopes that you might also be encouraged.

I have two children, one of whom, despite my ceaseless attempts, is not much of a breakfast eater. I have tried various breakfast ideas with her that have worked but sometimes struggle to keep it interesting.

And recently I have found it challenging to have healthy suppers ready on the fly. My children are active and we're in an "in between" season where swim club and gymnastics overlap, which means we're out of the house at supper time several nights each week. I refuse to eat out that often. Add Provincial Achievement Tests for both girls and now I'm extra concerned about a really good breakfast, too.

If your definition of a morning person is someone who eagerly jumps out of bed at 5 am, I don't qualify. I am not the kind of mom who enjoys getting up an hour before my children so I can bake fresh muffins for breakfast. My children learned at a young age to grab a juice box, a piece of fruit and a granola bar.

But I am the kind of mom who wants to teach her children that healthy food tastes good and that it doesn't have to be difficult.

Enter light bulb moment!

Scrambled omelettes! In bulk! If Jugo Juice can do it for their wraps (which I have duplicated for suppers), why can't I? The more I think about this, the more I wish I'd thought of it sooner.

What did I do? I threw 10 eggs, a splash of milk, a diced tomato, half a finely chopped onion, some chopped spinach, a yellow bell pepper and some cheese into my frying pan, cooked it up and threw it in the fridge so my kids can heat it up by themselves (they're old enough) in the morning. They can have it with a slice of toast or in a whole wheat wrap - their choice. It works for breakfast or supper on the fly and it's incredibly versatile. Your kids won't eat spinach? Don't put it in. They love bacon? Add some! Use what works for you, even if it's just plain scrambled eggs.

I'm also known to have pre-cooked chicken breasts and a variety of fresh veggies on hand to make wraps for suppers on the fly. Add this idea to The Big Cook and I'm good to go.

What's your favorite way to beat the, "I'm hungry, can we stop at _______ (enter any fast food restaurant here)?" blues?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Walk a Straight Line

"We can make our own plans, but the LORD gives the right answer." Proverbs 16:1, NLT

The words practically jumped off the page at me. I had just reviewed the items listed on my calendar for that day and determined that I would not succumb to the temptation of feeling overwhelmed.

But... God might just override our plans anyway? Why bother making them then? Oh, right... because He wants to work with me. Because He gave me the grey matter that fills the space between my ears for a reason. He wants me to use it. He wants me to plan. But He wants me to seek His guidance both through knowledge of the Bible and from advise from trusted and respected people. He wants to work with me to determine my goals and He wants to show me exactly how to get there.

The next night as I settled in for my evening foot rub and cuddle time, my Sweet Man tuned in to MythBusters.  In Walk a Straight Line (Season 9, Episode 15) Adam and Jamie attempted to swim, walk and drive in straight lines while blindfolded. Before they were blindfolded they placed themselves at the starting point and took time to evaluate their surroundings and their target finish mark, their end goal. They were (ahem) highly unsuccessful and confirmed the myth. It is not possible for a human to travel in a straight line while blindfolded.

Kinda sounds like parts of my life.

Later in this episode Adam and Jamie mimicked the effects of walking in the forest in a snowstorm (with limited visibility) by walking with buckets over their heads. Adam (who has no outdoor survival training) made quite the circular trek. Jamie, on the other hand, had the advantage of such training and was able to use it to successfully navigate a straight line through the trees.


"in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:6, NIV

I know where my goal is, but without God I am blindfolded. I do not know the terrain. It is not possible for me to know for certain what obstacles I will encounter. But God knows. So if I take time to seek His guidance, I won't wind up travelling in circles aimlessly. God wants to be my guide. He wants to open my eyes. He wants to show me the way - and usually not much more in advance than one or two steps at a time. (Though there have been times when He has given me glimpses of the big picture.)

So what does this look like in my daily life? How do I apply these lessons so I won't have to learn them again?

It means I work like it all depends on me, but I trust like it all depends on Him. It means I still fill those (extra large) calendar blocks with my list. It means I still review that list. Every. Day. Sometimes several times a day. But it means that I refuse to open the door to panic and anxiety. It means I pray, asking God what HE wants me to do first. It means I only have tabs for email OR my blog OR Facebook open one at a time and when it's time to focus on my family or my home my laptop is closed. No more checking for email or Facebook updates every time I walk past my computer. In most situations, it means I spend my time focused on one task at a time rather than multi-tasking and running around like the proverbial chicken with its head cut off. It means I must measure quality over quantity.

And I'm never sorry when I do it.

How do you successfully navigate your days without feeling overwhelmed?

This post is part of a series Timeless Journey. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Timeless Journey

Her heart raced, anxiety welled up within her like the molten lava of a volcano about to erupt. Again. This ritual seemed to be becoming increasingly familiar and she didn't like it. No, she thought, I am not going to do this. I refuse to allow myself to become overwhelmed. But how?

She was looking at the day's agenda. Tasks written on her calendar - some in ink, some in pencil. Some that had held their place for months already, and some with the ink still wet.

It will be ok, she told herself. What matters most will be crossed off by the day's end. She can be a bit stubborn that way, this woman.

Inhaling deeply and releasing slowly, she cried out to her Maker. Father God, thank you that you love me. Thank you that you see the reasons behind everything I do. Thank you, Father, for blessing my life with so many incredible gifts and purposes. Thank you for using me for your Glory. God, you see what's written on my calendar and you know as well as I do that this list is not exhaustive, that there will be other things that pop up in my day that I did not plan for, that at this very moment I do not feel like I have time for. Please, God, take my plans. Help me to complete the tasks that YOU deem important. Help me to focus on what's most important first, help me to manage my time well, help me to get out of the way so You can do what You want done through me.

But oh, the ways she could mess that up. How easy it is to step back in, take those plans back, get right smack in the middle of His way.

She desperately wants to please God. He created her to be a planner. Very much so, in fact. It's not uncommon for her to plan her days months in advance, but it seems that she's on a path where there are a few lessons to be learned along the way. Some she has learned partially and needs to improve on, others completely new. Most of them about time and how to spend it wisely, how to maximize it, how to make her plans but then give them back to Him, how to feel a sense of peace that she did what she could when her weary head is gently cradled by her pillow each night.

Have you figured it out yet? The reason I know this woman's thoughts so intimately is because they're mine. But I bet many of you can relate.

I've talked about time before. About how to relish every moment. To seemingly slow the relentless ticking, about different time management techniques I've tried, how to stay motivated to optimize timeI've shared my favorite method for saving time in the kitchen, and I've given my time back to the One who gave it to me. Do you notice a bit of a theme? Yeah, me too. So I've been spending a considerable amount of this precious resource studying it and I'd like to unwrap my findings with you. Maybe you'll glean a small tidbit of insight from something I learn. Maybe I'll be the only one learning. But this I know: A journey is always more fun when shared with friends.

Pack your bag and join me?