Sunday, May 28, 2017

Office Life

In my weekly commute to go biking, random thoughts run through my head. Recently, my caregiver and I took our normal of taking I-235 into town and turned off on the main road through downtown. This time, the Des Moines skyline caught my attention more than usual and a thought came to me, "how boring."

As I looked at the towers thrusting up from the ground, I thought of all the people working in them. For the most part, they would be in their office cubicles for eight or more hours a day with only a short break during lunch.

I realize my degree is in Information Technology with an emphasis on web development. The typical type of place I should be working is most likely in one of those cubicles. A couple months after I graduated from college, I had a temp job helping employees of an airline sign up for insurance. During this three-month period, I had a desk in one of those boxes.

All I could see were three gray walls around me, my computer screen, and a phone. I had a few papers pinned to a wall for reference, but that was it for decoration. I didn't think much of it at the time, but looking back I wondered how I did it.

My home "office" at least allows me to see outside just by simply turning my head. If it's nice outside, I can have my lunch on the deck and enjoy God's creation further. Going back to nothing but three walls for a view I think would be rather torturous.

However, I'm very thankful that there are a lot of people that do well in such a work environment. Without these positions we wouldn't things like insurance, banks, or telemarketers. In whatever position I'm in, I'm thankful we have the freedom in the United States to work and do whatever we like.

This Memorial Day weekend, remember those whose work was outside in war zones that helped keep us free. God has granted much prosperity to this country and it should never be forgotten.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Odd Quad Bod

I'm very familiar with the peculiarities of living as a quadriplegic. Having warm legs with ice cold knees and feet isn't unusual. Muscle spasms are another aspect of life that are very familiar. If I hit a bump or a stray air current breezes past, I go stiff as a board or have flying arms and legs. I thought I had this well known, until this week.

My parents managed to get away all of last week and I had my own house again for a few days. My best friend John's wife was also gone so he came down for a quick two day visit. John also brought along his two sons, TJ (3.5 years old) and Jeremiah (9 months old).

It isn't a secret that I love kids and I have been looking forward to them coming. Unlike John's last visit, we didn't take on any major computer projects. This round was just catching up and keeping the
kids happy. Jeremiah just started crawling a few weeks ago and happily explored all over the house. I quickly learned that our baby proofing was nowhere near adequate, but he survived without any lasting injuries.

One of Jeremiah's favorite activities was pulling himself up on the side of my chair. This is pretty typical of kids his age around me and I'm happy to be a jungle gym. However, Jeremiah moved on around and decided to also use my feet and legs as climbing posts.

The first few times he did this I was certain my legs would kick from the touching and send him back to the floor. Much to my thankful surprise, they never even twitched. The next dozen or more times this happened, I never had any spasms at all. Normally, with him grabbing on and pulling himself up on my legs, they would jump all over. Thankfully, they were fine every single time. This also included him crawling over me when I was sitting in bed showing off fancy toys like my mouth stick and floss pick.

Times like these show that just when I think I know how my body will react to certain situations, it proves me wrong. The next time I'm around a crawling critter that takes interest in my legs could be completely different, but I'm thankful for the results this time and look forward to another visit.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother's Day 2017

Every year we set aside a special day to celebrate mothers. It is an important role that God has allowed millions of women to hold over the centuries and it can't be honored enough.

I'm very fortunate to have been given my mom. Even though she was injured in the same accident as I was, she still does so much. Despite near constant pain in various joints in her legs, mom cares for dad and I every day.

My current funding for nurses requires very careful paperwork in keeping track of everyone's hours for each day, week, and month. Mom spends multiple days a week working on it as well as regular house finances.

Most important though, is mom's love for God. I remember late nights when I was little of mom and I reading from my children's Bible before bed. Sometimes vent tubes and all for time on her lap even. It is through the early years of learning about God and His love for me that have lasted my life. I sometimes think I see a little of God's love reflected in mom's actions toward those around her. Especially when we stay up until very early morning hours with no nurse.

Unfortunately, I know not every family is like mine and think of Mother's Day as just something to get through. If a person's mother has passed on, this is a day that can have a flood of emotions in all directions.

There are times I wish I could make my mom a grandmother. I know she would do well with grand kids and help train them up in the Lord. That hasn't been God's plan for our lives though, so we continue to serve as we can.

Give thanks for all mom's in your life today. They have a difficult job that sometimes is harder than it appears. The years I've been given with my mother are greatly cherished and I thank God for yet another blessing He has given me.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Outreach Burn

This past weekend was perfect weather in Iowa with sunny skies and temps topping out in the upper 60's and low 70's. It's the kind of day that feels cool in the shade, but great in the sun. It was also a great opportunity to meet and talk with people.

Thursday through Saturday was Tulip Time in Pella. The excellent weather and several beds of tulips made for large crowds attending the Dutch festival. On Thursday and Friday I volunteered a few hours at a new gospel outreach stand. It wasn't nearly as busy as being at the fair last summer, but there were still plenty of opportunities to share.

The first day was a short shift to kind of get a feel for how the stand worked and how I could best help. My assistant and I mainly handed out gospel tracts and little information sheets as people walked past. Several kids were thrilled to receive a million dollar bill and show off to their friends.

Friday was a longer stent and with my regular day help out ill, I had dad as my backup. It took a bit of training, but he was catching on to what to do by the time my shift was up. I talked with a few missionaries that were glad to see me out active. A retired couple from Missouri had just started reading through the Bible for the first time and were glad they started. Everyone I had was eager to talk and glad to see the new booth being active.

Unfortunately, I didn't watch out enough for my own needs. After Thursday, we noticed strips of red on my arms where they were exposed to the sun. On Friday and Saturday, I was glowing with sunscreen on my face, arms, and legs, but I forgot about one spot. When washing my hair Sunday morning I realized my scalp received more sun than I thought in a few spots and is now sore to touch. Living the quad life doesn't make me immune to thinning hair lines apparently.

I'm thankful that I was able to get out and I pray that the contacts that were made will have eternal benefit for everyone. This week looks to be a busy one again with doctors and, unfortunately, a hair cut that could be interesting.