Monday, December 26, 2016

Tender Mercy Number 232,345,973

Deeeeep breath!  Okay.  I spent the day at home in my flannel pajamas and a big ole long warm sweater.  I watched movies and made sure Kevin had everything he needed.  I didn't even get dressed until around 5:30 when it was time to run to the pharmacy to pick up prescriptions.  Flannel pajamas and long sweaters....why didn't I discover these until I was 49?  

I thought long and hard about taking down all the Christmas decorations today, but the decorations won.  They are still standing.  I spent part of today dejunking the family room, living room, and kitchen of all the holiday extras.  Maybe tomorrow, I'll get the house undecorated.  This is so me!  I usually wait until New Years Day to take things down, but for some reason I'm just ready to be done with the holidays.  There was one year that I actually took things down on Christmas night!  BUT, only once.  

Something I don't want to forget......

Some months ago, someone shared something with me, something negative that someone had said about me.  Knowing what was said, but more importantly, who had said it, hurt me deeply.  Over the weeks, I've tried to let it go, but I could not help but recall the sting of those words.  In the past few weeks, I've managed to regroup, but still, the words were never far from my mind and heart causing me to always keep my guard up a bit around pretty much anyone who knows this person and/or anyone in contact with them.  My defense mechanism in my brain and heart would not let me forget.  Over the past few weeks, in the middle of all the other things on my mind, I've prayed sincerely to get past that hurt and to be able to let it go, but the words still lingered.  To the point that I cut off all ties with anyone remotely close to the person who hurt me simply because I thought that those other people would rally around the person who said the hurtful things simply because of age and relationships.  

The other day, I received a tender mercy.  Actually.  I received several tender mercies within the past three days.  

The first came from a family member who surprised me with all the nice things they had to say about me.  Lexi and I made the rounds delivering our Christmas presents and this person went on and on with the kind words, understanding, and compliments.  I was very surprised since I never felt that this person really cared much for me, but merely tolerated me.    

The second one came from my oldest son.  It was on a day that I was feeling a little down and concerned with a few other things that were happening in my oldest daughter's life.  I've just been concerned for her.  It was just before we left the house to go up to see Kevin at the hospital on Christmas Eve.  We were waiting for Lexi to get her shoes on when Kyle commented on the way that Kevin and I raised each of our children.  He said we did a great job and he was glad that he and his siblings all turned out the way they have.  That meant a lot.  You see, Kyle rarely shares his feelings.  He usually only lets me know when he is frustrated with something.  This was totally out of character for him, but it came at the exact moment I needed to hear it.  You see, recently someone implied that unless Kevin was around certain things just do not happen in our home and family.  Which isn't the case.  Kevin and I work as a team.  AND, as a matter of fact, even before Kevin had his spinal cord event who do you think has been the one making sure things get done around here when we can't function as a team?  That would be me!  That's right, I've been doing this for years now.  Kevin's spinal cord event didn't change how things get done around here because we were dealing with his reduced mobility for at least two years prior to the spinal cord event.  The spinal cord event just made us all realize things were not going to change and that we would have to keep doing what we have been doing.  This just proves that people only see what they want to see.  Well, these comments also got to me.  So, Kyle's words of encouragement and praise couldn't have come at a better time.

The last tender mercy came from my husband just tonight.  While Kevin has been sick a situation came up.  It was something that would mean spending money we really didn't have to spend to help someone.  Since Kevin's spinal cord event there really hasn't been a lot of extra money in our budget, especially just days before Christmas.  Every dollar is planned for during this time of year, as it always is.  Well, since I found out that this person needed a little help I decided to take action without consulting Kevin ahead of time.  As it turns out, the help was greatly appreciated, and I even decided to help a little bit more.  This was my chance to be a part of someone else's tender mercies.  This afternoon I mentioned what I did to my husband.  About an hour ago Kevin came made sure to tell me he was proud of me for doing what I did.  He said he really loved me and thinks the world of me.  Kevin shared so much praise and good feelings that he has for me.  Kevin could not say enough about me, and I could feel the love he has for me.  He couldn't stop.  To hear that kind of love and appreciation was an amazing feeling.  He just went on and on.  With tears, I thanked him and told him, "You have no idea how much that means to me."  It was a tender mercy, an answer to my prayers.  

Now no, none of the comments from these individuals came from the person that I mentioned that hurt me months ago, but these kind words have restored my self-confidence and strengthened some relationships that I thought were affected by the mean comments from the one.  It was very eye-opening to hear these three individuals share their feelings for me in such simple, yet profound ways.  

I was reading a past conference talk the other day on my cell phone while I was sitting quietly in Kevin's hospital room.  (He wasn't up for talking, but just wanted me there with him in the room while he rested.) It was a prior first Presidency Message.  I wish I would have took a screen shot of the title, but I was just browsing when I stumbled across it.  The message was about how forgiveness and the atonement can make such a difference in our lives.  I wish I could remember the words precisely, but I was too busy trying not to cry to take a moment and write them down.  Indeed, prayers answered.  I can finally let go the harsh words from that person.  Those hurtful words were forgiven, but will now I will be able to let them go and not be so on guard for one more moment.  I almost wanted to call the person who hurt me deeply and say, "Guess what?!  I'm over it!!"  I'm sure that they have no clue I was ever "under" it, so it would be futile.

Three lessons to be learned here.....

1) Don't repeat the negative.  It can do no good.  IF you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.  Having never known what that person said all this time would have saved me much heartache.  My husband told me to delete the message because it would do me no good and he said, "That is not you!  You are better than that!  So, let it go because it will only hurt you."

2) PRAY for whatever it takes to get over things that you are under.  Prayers are answered, even the most simple prayers that don't really seem like they'd matter to Heavenly Father.

3) If you can ever find a reason to say something good to say to someone, by all means, say it! Who'd have thought that the kind words from these three people could be life-changing in my life?  Certainly, they had no idea when they shared these things with me.  What a difference these simple conversations can make!  

I've shared tender mercies before...the little things that happen in life, in which we are reminded, quite clearly, that the Lord does, indeed, hear and answer our prayers, knows us individually, and recognizes our needs, large and small.  Prayers are usually answered, but through the hands of others.  I thought that these were a few good reminders that we need not only graciously receive those tender mercies, but look for opportunities to be a part of them, as well.  I've felt quite blessed and humbled to be on both sides this week.  

I have to say, it was a whirlwind, the past few weeks.  We laughed, we cried, we celebrated, and carried out plans, then re-grouped and changed our plans to fit our unforseen emergency and still try to have a somewhat normal Christmas too.  While things didn't go exactly as planned, I will say this, this family can roll with the punches and we can shift gears and change plans fast!  We loved spending time with everyone, even if it was in impromptu ways....sometimes those are the best kinds of get togethers.  I'm so grateful for the feelings of love, of appreciation, for the loved shared and felt by so many.  It's been so amazing.  I've loved the opportunity to serve, to spoil, to be close to Kevin, to watch our children love eaah other and their time together, as well as try to welcome in a little bit more our newest member, Chance into our family as well.  Oh my word, it's been a wild ride, but at the same time it's been wonderful.  
 After our early morning run up to the hospital yesterday (Christmas Day) so we could skype with our missionary by 6:30AM we all were worn out.  We were back home by around 9AM.  Kyle, Lexi, and I came home and fell right to sleep.  By 11AM Kevin was calling home to tell us he was coming home that afternoon.  I couldn't get over how perky Kevin looked when I walked into his hospital room once he knew he could finally come home.  He was his old self.  Still worn out and weak, but perky none the less.  He certainly was a sight for sore eyes and I was thrilled he was finally coming home!  
On our way home Kevin and I dropped off his prescriptions at the 24 hour Walgreen's.  That line was so long!  I can't believe how busy they were.  We waited for about 1/2 an hour just to drop off his prescription.  Thank goodness we were in their drive through line.  When we got home we got Kevin settled into bed.  I'm so glad we visited the grocery store for a second time on Christmas Eve so I could pick up some crackers because that was the first thing Kevin asked for as soon as he was settled in.  He didn't want anything else.  I got him his crackers, a little cheese, and a nice big glass of water, and he was a happy camper.  That evening Kyle and I picked up Kevin's prescription and I also grabbed some chicken noodle soup.  Kevin had some chicken noodle soup with a few more crackers and he was a thrilled.  He wasn't up for eating much more than soup.  Thank goodness Walgreen's was open and had soup! 

Today Kevin has been up and down about every hour and a half to get to the bathroom. Those simple trips to the bathroom wear him out!  They really pumped him full of fluids and he said he can really tell.  We intend to keep pumping him full of fluids here at home as well....just not quite like they did at the hospital.  Kevin was told by the Rehab Doctor to be careful with his liquid intake because it will effect him differently than it did before his spinal cord event.  (I'm not calling it an injury anymore because Kevin didn't fall or hurt himself.  This was something that was done to him during a simple surgical procedure.  So, we are calling it an event from now on.)  We just have to keep an eye on his intake.  No biggie.  We can do this.

Today has been a quiet day.  I'm glad my employer decided to give us all today off since Christmas was on a Sunday.  It worked out perfectly so I could be home here with Kevin today since Kyle has to work.  Kevin is still pretty weak and I just don't want him to have any issues.  No, we wouldn't leave Kevin alone.  At least not for a full work day.  Maybe for a short trip to the store or something, but not 9 hours yet.  Lexi would have been here, but that's a lot to give someone her age to deal with....what if Kevin were to fall.  Lexi couldn't pick him up all by herself.  Again, me being able to be home with him worked out perfectly.  That is a huge blessing! 

This holiday season was full of moments for us to learn a lot about many different things.  Some I've already mentioned above and others I will never be able to share.  Some things we learned through the events of this past couple of weeks.  Others through the lives of others.  It's been interesting.  Who knew we would be learning so much these last few months of this year.  Wow!  Mind blowing.  Enough about that.
Random fact....Did you know a bowl of cold cereal after 10PM tastes so much better than at 8 in the morning??  It's also fewer calories than say, a bowl of ice-cream or a piece of pie.  Love it.  

Here's one last Christmas tip:  Check your Christmas cards.  As I was putting things away, I discovered a sweet note inside a Christmas card, plus a gift card!  I had no idea it was in there and had missed it when I opened the card last week.  I'd hate to have thrown that away and I'd hate to have not known to say Thank you!  

Santa was good to us all this year.  No one received big things this year, but they all loved everything they received.  That made me happy.  Kevin was thrilled with his gifts too.  It's been several years since Kevin and I were able to exchange gifts.  That was really nice.  I got what I wanted too.  I received a fit bit watch and a the fit bit scale.  The watch is amazing!  It is an actual watch, I can receive text messages on it, phone calls, keep track of my steps, water intake, sleep, food intake, exercise, weight, and I think that's it.  I have an app on my cell phone now to track everything.  Then the fit bit scale keeps track of you weight, of course.  It also tells you your BMI and determines your body fat percentage too.  It's great!  I've only used these things for two days now and I am loving them!  Especially being able to read messages on the watch.  That's amazing!  Thank you Santa.....Thank you Kevin.  

Well, I should get going.  Take care my friends and we will talk again soon.

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