Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Inventory and Standards

While I'm off work for a couple of weeks, I'm getting some stuff done. Don't worry, I'm also taking care of myself. I rest often, especially after doing my physical therapy exercises. Hopefully I can do them soon and they won't hurt or agitate my injury anymore. It's a long process, that's for sure.

One of the objectives I have tackled is cleaning out the kids' closets in preparation for school. This is how it went last year - with two boys going to school. We made sure they had plenty of pants of whatever colors that fit well and had no holes. We removed all shirts that had writing/inappropriate pictures or logos (did you know an old Bible School logo is inappropriate?) and hung them in the boys' closet. They could wear these on the weekends or when school was out. The clean and approved shirts were put in their drawers to make it easy for them to get to each day.

Things are a little different this year. Now we have all three children to prepare for school and the rules have changed. Blue jeans, jean shorts and khaki pants are allowed on the bottoms and on the tops - polo style shirts, without pattern or color limits as long as they don't have writing or inappropriate logos (I suppose they have to allow the little insignias because there are very few polo style shirts without them). We removed a majority of the shirts from the boys' closet and drawers, because even the shirts passable last year with no writing were no longer good because they weren't polo style. Of course they kept some of their favorites, but Goodwill is getting a nice little donation this week.

Greta's wardrobe was the worst. I had to dig through her size six clothes to find a single pair of blue jeans she could wear. Most of her jean shorts are too short for school. She had not one single polo style shirt in her drawers or closet. Alas, we shall be doing the inevitable back to school shopping, especially where Greta is concerned. Greta still has a closet full of dresses for church and fun shirts to wear (thank you to our friends who share their still good clothing), and now we'll get to add to it a little bit of khaki and polo.

What I found interesting is that last year, when it was just shirts with writing, we kept many shirts out for the boys that had some of their favorite slogans/designs on them. The boys both love flight stuff and air force things so all of those aerospace things stayed. There were also many others that stayed and stayed and stayed in the closet, never to be worn, but we kept them.

This year, with an even higher standard to attain for school clothing, it was a lot easier to get rid of those shirts that were never worn last year. Some of the aerospace stuff still remained, but the boys also realized there were things they just didn't need; because there just weren't enough "non school" days to wear them.

This afternoon, after piling up three bags of donation clothes (one of which was nearly full of Michael's blue jeans that he outgrew this summer - still in great shape with no holes in the knees or even wear marks - doesn't it make you sick), I found myself contemplating the difference. As the school uniform standards were raised, I realized there was less and less that met that standard. I began to think about God's standards. They're always there and never change, but in His mercy we aren't always hit with everything at once. As we grow in Christ, we realize how high God's standards are and each year we realize there are more things to weed out as we seek to meet those standards.

As we cling to some things we know don't meet those standards at all, saving them for "off days," I believe we come to the realization as we get closer to God that there are less and less of those "off days." Just some random thoughts from a mom getting her kids ready for school.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Six Months to a Year - a Different Kind of Sentence

I'll admit that when I hear things like six months to a year, it makes me think of prison sentences. In a way, this is.

My six months to a year is the recovery time for my arm. It still boggles my mind that I bump my arm on a door jam and my life changes so much. My left arm is starting to be painful at times now, because I'm using it much more than normal. It's kind of like when your shoulders hurt because you've been on crutches. Because I'm using my left arm so much, the muscles actually ache at times. But we'll make it through.

The good news is that the nerve I traumatized, the radial nerve, doesn't require surgery for healing. I'll need physical therapy, possibly a TENS unit (oh joy, more electrical shocks going through my body) and medications specific to nerve pain and two weeks off of work to get it all going. Whew!!

Six months to a year seems like a long time, but I'm praying that if I follow instructions and take care of myself in all ways I know how to, that the healing will be even faster. I know there are many others praying and I'm grateful.

In all of this, there are many reasons to praise God. First of all, I didn't break any bones. Secondly, God has sustained me through having one bad arm and being the back up for all the other office employees who are going on their summer vacations. A friend was able to get me a quicker appointment with an orthopedic surgeon and I was able to get the EMG (Electromyogram) done before Dr. B. went on vacation for the summer. Some people were afraid that I wouldn't be able to keep working the rest of the day after the EMG and all of the electrical shocks and needle readings, but again, God sustained me.

One problem with a long recovery is that people forget I have a bad arm. Someone patted me a church, FIRMLY on my right arm and I about hit the ceiling. Then my daughter doesn't quite get it either. Even my sister forgot and meant to give me a sisterly tweak and did it on my right arm. She felt so bad and I asked her if this made up for all the times when she had a broken toe when we were little and I kept running through the house and squishing her sore toe.

We had a good laugh over the toe story, but in the end, I'm glad Susan didn't keep score and try to pay me back. I'm also glad that God doesn't keep score in order to "pay us back." I suppose I'll learn a lot about God's ways over the next six months. I pray I'll be open to His leadings and let this experience mold me more into the person He would have me to be.