Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Christmas Sanity Secrets – Part 9

I’m beginning to see why I get so stressed out at Christmas every year. Even though I’ve been working on this Christmas sanity plan since last January, there still seems to be much to do and quite honestly, I’m kind of a busy person. Plus, I need frequent naps.

Once again, I find myself at the end of the month frantically trying to get at least ONE thing done towards my goal of being sane at Christmas. So, here’s what I did today. For the past few years we’ve gotten the women (we call them “the girls”) that work at John’s office gift certificates for Christmas. Quite honestly, it’s only about a thirty minute job, but hey, it’s one thing off the list. Progress, slow but steady. If you know “the girls,” or perhaps you are one of “the girls,” please keep this a secret. It’s not like it’s a huge surprise, though. We don’t deviate much from the plan. We’re just not that creative.

I also emailed the kids (and by that I mean our grown boys and their wives) to request a list of their desires for Christmas. We give them an opportunity every year to insure we don’t buy them clothes they don’t like or games they won’t play. Of course, at least one of them won’t hesitate to shoot for the moon in his requests. I’ll not name names.

And, I went out on a limb and emailed my sister-in-laws for suggestions for their kids. The entirety of the time I spent was approximately one hour. It wasn’t much, but it was something. I wanted to get some wrapping done, too, but I ran out of steam. Go figure, it’s only September and Christmas is already wearing me out. BUT, come December, I’m sure I’ll have plenty of energy so please don’t forget to invite me to your Christmas gathering. I’ll be done shopping, full of energy and the life of the party, unless of course, I need a nap.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Two People - Fighting the Fight

I have been a bit of a slacker in the blogging department lately. It’s not that I don’t have anything to write about, it’s just that I haven’t had time to sit down and put it into words. But, enough of the excuses, I’m back now, hopefully, without so many lapses between my blog posts.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to volunteer for a few hours answering phones at the local Christian radio station, KTIS, during their annual fundraising “Sharathon.” I’ve been doing this for years and I always meeting interesting people in the process. Yesterday was no exception.

As you might expect, the phones don’t ring constantly throughout the day so there is opportunity to read, or chat with the people around you. Early in the day I spent the time between calls doing some reading. When the phone rang I’d set down my book, moving the “gas receipt bookmark” to my current location. Next thing I know the guy next to me, Dave, mentions that perhaps my bookmark could use an upgrade and hands me a new one that says “Donate Life.” Thus began our conversation on organ donation.

Now, I already have “DONOR” listed on my driver’s license so it’s not like Dave had to convince me, but still, he came up with some pretty interesting stats. Did you know, for instance, that one donor can save ten lives and help improve as many as 50 lives? That’s pretty remarkable. I had a friend tell me once that she didn’t want to be a donor because she wasn’t convinced the doctors would wait until she was REALLY dead to do the transplant. My feeling is that should the doctors goof up, that just gets me to Jesus a little bit sooner, so I really have nothing to fear. But, I digress.

Dave, as it turns out, is waiting for a heart. I can’t remember exactly what is wrong with the one he’s got but I believe it’s some sort of congenital defect. He told me that there is about a four year wait list for a new heart and it’s hard to qualify as a potential transplant patient. I wonder how they figure that out; not the qualifying part, but the wait time. Is it anything like the method they use to determine how long it will be until your table at the restaurant is ready? (We think the people at table 26, 42, and 65 look pretty full, which means you’ve got a 15 – 20 minute wait.)

Many people will die waiting to get their needed organ. If you aren’t already listed as a donor, perhaps you’ll consider it as a possibility.

It seemed to be medical day at KTIS because the woman on the other side of me, Sarah, has late stage Lyme’s Disease. They believe she’s had it for nearly eight or nine years, but she was just diagnosed this past year. The doctors in Minnesota are stymied as to what to do for her. Yes, even the renowned Mayo clinic has suggested that she go somewhere else. When I read Sarah’s Caring Bridge site last night I found out that she has a t-shirt that says “Lyme’s Disease ticks me off.” At least she hasn’t lost her sense of humor.

Sarah is a wife and mother of three kids. She is also a woman of amazing faith who has, by no means, given up. She heard of a doctor in New York who specializes in this particular disease but doesn’t have the means to finance a trip to visit him. Still, she felt that God made it clear to her that she should go; so, in faith, she made her appointment. A few days later someone called her and offered to finance her entire trip! I LOVE THAT! Only God could pull that off!

So, here I am at the end of my blog, wondering if anyone besides me will find all this to be fascinating stuff. I simply admire Sarah and Dave’s spirit and their willingness to continue “fighting the fight.” I am richer for having met them.

Friday, September 11, 2009

A 9/11 Story from Canada

I spent yesterday in Halifax, Nova Scotia. It was truly one of the most welcoming cities I’ve ever been to. We are on a cruise and were greeted at the port by a couple of locals, in full Scottish attire, playing a bagpipe and drums. Now, whether or not you like bagpipes, it was still a nice touch. They played again as we left.

As we toured about I heard a story about 9/11/2001 that I’d never heard before. As we all know, every plane in the air on that fateful day was forced to land immediately at the nearest airport. Being as Nova Scotia is one of the first bits of land you get to once crossing the Atlantic, many planes landed in the city of Halifax. Over 8000 people, most of them Americans, got off the planes September 9, 2001 with nowhere to go. So what did the city of Halifax do? They took care of them.

Many of them were housed at a large arena, while others stayed in people’s homes. Some of the Haligonians (that’s what they call themselves) even drove the weary and anxious travelers down to Boston – a 12 hour drive each direction. That is some kind of nice!

But, by far the best story I heard was about a couple that was flying from Great Britain to California to get married. They were staying with a local family and told them the reason for their travel – a wedding that wasn’t going to happen. Once the family heard of the ill-fated wedding, they got into gear and put a wedding on for the couple. They found a dress, a minister, got a cake and had a wedding! I’m sure it wasn’t the wedding they had planned but you can be sure that it was a wedding, filled with kindness they won’t ever forget.

This day will always be remembered with sadness, but today I will also remember the incredible graciousness of a city in Canada. Good job, Haligonians, good job!