Monday, June 27, 2016

One Dozen Years

Once again CHAMP Camp came for another year. However, unlike the last two years of just visiting, I was able to finally go as a counselor. This year was my twelfth as a counselor and 19th total years of attending.

Counselors arrived the day before campers in order to get to know the kids' cares and how to work with them. It felt a bit strange to have some counselors in their third year and I haven't met them before. It was even more the case when campers came Sunday afternoon. I had a good learning curve in new names and was thankful for name tags.

I was with a cabin of five younger boys. Only one was new this year, but I only knew one of them from my previous weeks. I loved getting to work with the kids again and see them accomplish new goals. One had the impression I was a chopping board as he would park right beside me and make his hand do a chopping motion on my arms. If I had my mouth stick, I would have chopped back, but he was fun to play with.

Due to space constraints, I slept in another building from the campers, along with dad and my night help. It was nice having our own space, but it still means you miss out on some time with the kids. Dad and I were also in charge of fishing, so that took up our morning in both running the poles and cleaning up afterward. It was a warm week in Indiana, so part of clean up included dad getting a new shirt and washing up.

Outdoor activities were rearranged Wednesday due to rain, so it was good cabin time with our campers. The zip line opened up in the afternoon and after the kids went, I was able to make a run. I didn't get video this time. but it was just as much, if not more, fun than last time.

It was a good week and I'm very thankful I was able to go. Unfortunately, I really noticed the quad life challenges this time. With fishing and going back and forth between cabins, it was a lot of work for my dad. My night assistant was also only able to get a few hours of sleep during the day. Also, on the way up, I didn't do well with traveling tilted for so long and rough roads.

I don't know what God has in store for the next year, but this one did at least come together. Right now, I'm uncertain about trying again, but I will see what comes.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Father's Day

Father's Day for my family unfortunately doesn't get much attention. If I'm able to go CHAMP Camp, it usually means dad and I are gone for the week. I would like to find a way around it, but I don't see it happening unless camp changes schedules or I no longer, which is possible. However, that's not the case this year.

I rely on my dad for a lot of my medical care when I don't have a nurse. Mom can't do large physical work like move or turn me, so it falls on him. Over the decades, I have met many families that the son or daughter is like me and requires a lot of help for daily living. Unfortunately, most end up in a single parent household with the father not involved.

We have our tough times and struggles, but thankfully through God's leading my family hasn't followed the norm. There are more things than I can begin to list that I do with my dad that not everyone can relate. We both enjoy watching trains together and I'm told we act a lot alike. However, I'm not so sure the last point is always a good thing.

With working many hours at work every week, then doing things around the house, I would love to see dad's responsibilities decrease. That likely won't happen soon either, but time will tell. Hopefully his duties at work can be shared with others and I continue to have caregivers that can cover my needs.

The thing I'm most thankful for is that dad is an example of what it is like to follow our Father in heaven. He doesn't get everything right, but demonstrates what it is to love your family as Christ loves the church. Also showing that trusting in God's plan is what we all need to do.

This quad life has been greatly enhanced by the care and love God has given me through dad. I'm thankful to have him and even if I can't give a break on his day, I can at least share our story with you.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Summer Storm

About 5:30 Saturday morning I was laying in bed awake wishing I was asleep. As I reminded myself of the long day I had coming, I heard a sound in the distance. Far off I could a faint roll of thunder through the early morning sounds. As my self argument continued, I could hear the approaching storm, but it never came close.

Several minutes later, the welcome sound of rain hitting the roof came, but it lasted a brief moment until it was gone. The rolling thunder made its presence known a few more times, but never coming near. When day came, the sun revealed a landscape showing little notice of the drink and still parched.

In many ways, this is how I feel life has been for me lately. All of 2016 has been slow with work and I keep feeling like a transition is coming. I contacted more schools this spring in anticipation of increasing talks, but not as much came as I expected. Two new grade schools were added to the schedule, but not any colleges. Now I have been approached for two potential web site redesigns this summer. Like Saturday's thunder, will these amount to work or just go off in the distance?

May was the first month this year that had every night covered by the nursing agency allowing my parents to sleep and be active during the day. We had high hopes it would continue, but both Saturday nights this month have not been covered and another time is coming that only part of the time is filled.

The ebb and flow of this life is hard to tell what is coming. A steady, set routine for more aspects would often be nice, but it depends on what routine rules out. However, I'm well aware that's something unknown in the quad life, or anyone else.

Anticipation for possible things to come is good, however keeping an eye on what you currently have and can do is even better.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Busy Day of Rest

Why is it that sometimes days that are meant to be for resting and recouping can end up busier than regular days? Saturday night, I once again did not have a night nurse. We did the normal routine of mom and I staying up until nearly 2:00 and dad takes over.

For me, I actually slept fairly well and was awake enough to do my morning routine and get to church. After some singing, it was the normal time to settle down and hear the sermon. However, God must have wanted to wake us up as a bat started flying around the sanctuary. The Pastor tried to continue, but couldn't keep everyone's attention.

After several loops from the bat, and odd sounds and movements from everyone, the distraction was removed. The comment was made that it took six people to get one bat, but it worked. The service resumed as usual and we can now add another critter to the list that has been in our services (miniature horse, dog, sheep, and now bat). Yes, this is rural Iowa and animals are easily obtained for helpful teaching points.

With church a little later than usual, we got home, changed clothes, and then met with my mom's side of the family for lunch. Everyone enjoyed great food, talked a while, and watched the great-grand-kids play. A few hours later, it was time to head back home for my afternoon cares. Just after getting home, I was greeted by two emails for urgent updates on a client's web site.

Everything together can make for a busy day, but I do enjoy them when they come. I saw some of my cousins' kids that I haven't seen since Christmas and get caught up again with them. As the surprise church visitor showed us, anything can happen at any time.

Keeping focus on where it needs to be is sometimes very difficult at times, including in the quad life. This week looks to remain busy as well, but I'll see if any surprises are included.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Marker

It is the unofficial start to summer, a day that most people have off work and enjoy an extended weekend. I'm in that group, most of my day has been spent playing Farming Simulator 15 and Minecraft. It has been fun, but also need to remember the reason for the day.

On Saturday a small group from my side of the family went to the cemetery where my uncle is buried. For some reason, cemeteries don't have handicapped parking that I can use to get out of the van. Grass isn't easy to drive on either, so dad parked the van close by and everyone got out, put some flowers up, and talked and remembered.

As I sit in the van looking out, I see a sea of grave stones ahead of me row after row. One was a recent addition that I remember putting the funeral service online. Every stone marked at least one if not two lives gone. Everyone has a story with it, relatives left behind, and some past connection to the area.

Hearing about each individual's life could take a lifetime in itself, while your own story is being lived. While we were there, a few cars drove by slowly looking at names of either close relatives, friends, or people they only knew by association. The birds continued to sing in the trees while tales of times gone drifted through the air.

Everyone is part of the ultimate statistic, ten out of ten people die. Some died while fighting for this country while others simply pass during the night. At some point, my story will be complete, as well as you the reader. Days like this are when we remember those that have gone, and others will do the same for me (at least I hope).

As your story unfolds, make sure to stay with God's rules for the life you've been given. When the quad life is over, it will start anew in eternity. Enjoy the freedoms we have to be thankful for and stop to remember those that have gone before and have yet to go.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Quick Visit

Last September I helped with my friend's wedding in northern Indiana. While there, I met many of his friends, including the bride's maid. Robin and started chatting via social media not long after that and started to officially date in October. Pretty well every night since then we have spent a couple hours every evening talking about everything in God's creation.

However, we still only saw each other in person the one time last fall. Robin also lives in northern Indiana and with both of us having challenges that require assistance from others, travel isn't easy. Winter is especially not a good time to try to be out from home, so we waited for a time that we could see each other again. That finally happened this weekend.

We looked at possible days back in January and decided May was a good likelihood for nice weather and easy travel. Coordinating, and finding, a caregiver took some work as well, but we were thankful to be able to get this weekend for her to come.

It was a short visit with only having yesterday and this morning together, but we tried to make the most of it. Iowa finally had a sunny and dry few days, so we were able to go in and out easily, tour the town, and even spend some time in the park. We also spent plenty of time at my house meeting my parents and just spending time together.

Today we got to go to church together and have Sunday lunch before Robin and her helper had to go. It felt being in church with Robin and listening to God's Word together and singing Him praise. Hopefully we will get to experience it again, but time will tell.

This weekend was a different one for the quad life with many new memories. I don't know when we'll get to meet in person again, but this was at least a great start.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Stepping Down

Most Sundays are very routine for me. My dad gets me up, does my morning routine, then gets me in my chair. After he and mom are ready, we maybe have a few extra minutes and then head off to church. Today started off like most other weeks, but it did not continue.

After morning church service, there was a monthly update from the church council that we wanted to stay and hear. About half the congregation stayed for the meeting and then everyone left after it was complete. My church has a small elevator that I and a some of our elderly members must use to get in or out. It can only take a few walkers, or one wheelchair, at a time and causes a bit of a traffic jam of people waiting to use it.

The first load went without any trouble and a lady with her walker got on next. Shortly after starting her descent, the elevator started making a loud noise. Some searching found that the ride went all the way to the basement, instead of outside, and the car wouldn't move. This has happened before, so it's not a big concern. The woman was helped up the stairs from the basement and could then go on her way. I was the only one left that needed it, so I watched as the routine of resetting the lift was underway.

After a few minutes and a bit of grunting from the people working on the mechanism, everything was lined up again. Unfortunately, the same noise returned and it was determined that it was a more serious issue than usual. This meant we would need to figure out a way to get me out. Every entrance has a flight of stairs, so it wouldn't be an easy task.

I drove over to the shortest stairway while dad and a couple guys talked strategy. Dad thought it would be best to reduce the chair's weight, so he laid me on a nearby couch. Staring up at the ceiling, I could hear my chair make a loud thump with every step they got it down. I didn't hear any crashes, but still wondered what the scene looked like.

A short time after the last thud, dad came to carry me down the steps and back to my wheels. I was glad to see everything in one piece and working properly. Today was one in the quad life of unexpected times and going with the flow.

I'm thankful that a few people were still available after the meeting and everything went well. God continues to show His plan, even when we don't know it's coming.