Doctor, Doctor

Jacob’s sore toe needed medical attention. It’s not the first time we’ve been through this but it had been years.  I started ‘treating’ it with a prescription ointment that didn’t help.  Then switched to an over-the-counter, again, to no results.

I had noticed some redness around the nail and then a couple of days later, he was bruised and had a cut. Obviously had dropped something on his toe. That is one of the hard parts, not knowing what happened. But knowing enough to know it hurt. After several days, I realized, we needed his doctor to take a look.

Going to the doctor with Jacob is always a hassle.  It. Just. Is.  His long-time family physician is accommodating, kind, and does all the right things.  But, Jacob would rather not be there.   Fortunately for us, depending on the case, there have been times where a reply to a simple portal question we submitted was sufficient. 

Covid has brought some changes that have sure helped us.  One of those, that we took advantage of recently, was a video appointment. 

None of, getting Jacob ready and into the van.  Then convincing him to sit in his wheelchair to go into waiting area.  Standing on the scale for his weight is always hit or miss.  Taking blood pressure works sometimes.  It required both of us to be present which makes for a crowded exam room when it is the three of us and his doctor, plus sometimes the nurse and/or a resident shadowing. 

Instead of going through all of the above, Mike got a text when it was time to connect.  We Facetimed with Jacob’s doctor and he got a good look at Jacob’s toe.  He made a diagnosis and gave us instructions along with a prescription med to start. 

1) Daily, soak Jacob’s foot in a bucket of Epsom salt water for at least 10 minutes a day.  I smiled as the doctor was saying that because I knew there was about a 0% chance of accomplishing that simple task.  So we went with the nice soak in bathtub approach instead.

Then this happened:  I was running water in the tub and calling Jacob to come get in.  Our male golden heard the water running and hurried to the bathroom to join the party.  Before I could stop him, Lucas stepped right over into the Epsom salt bath.  Yes. He. Did.  Silly boy.  He didn’t want to get out but finally did with clean paws. 

You would have thought it was torture for Jacob to soak in the tub. Rather than relax and enjoy – some soaks he would just stand the entire time. Fine with us, mission accomplished with the toe. Other times, he’d decide to sit and enjoy. We’d have a timer to be sure we got at least ten minutes in. One evening, I texted his dad, ‘thirty minutes in tub and still chilling’. By then, he probably was as the water sure wasn’t warm anymore!

2) Continue to apply over-the-counter ointment I had already started.  Cover with band-aid.  Jacob wasn’t going to leave a band-aid on so we could either try to keep socks on him (which was unlikely) or take a chance that ointment would get on things around the house.  We took that chance and reapplied frequently.

I had to work fast to get medicine on the toe.  He would willingly put his foot in my lap but as soon as I’d move toward the toe, he would jerk it away.  Over and over and over.  I know he was afraid of pain. 

And, 3) Start on a 7-day round of an antibiotic.  A capsule big enough for a horse.  Jacob cannot swallow a capsule.  So, I emptied the contents into a spoonful of applesauce.  First dose, he took it pretty well with his regular cup of apple juice washing it down.  Second dose, he remembered how unpleasant the first one was so he ran from me.  And tried hiding in the pantry. I switched to sprinkling in a small amount of juice.  Cooperated but not well and worse the next time. 

Then it dawned on me that he LOVES chocolate milk but we do not have it often.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.  Trip to the store and we were good to go!  Next dose came in the form of antibiotic sprinkled on applesauce with the promise of chocolate milk and it was the winning combination.  We completed the medication with total compliance! 

After 7 days, there was definite improvement. 

So thankful for technology and a willing physician that made this much, much easier for us. 

And for chocolate milk.

Breakfast Pizza

When Jacob likes a certain food/dish/meal, he can REALLY put the food away. Although, from one day to the next, he may push something back as if he never wants to see it again. Keeps us guessing!

One of his favorites, that I make fairly often, is Breakfast Pizza. The recipe was first given to me by a friend in the early 90s. It was prepared in a 12-inch pizza pan. Once I discovered how much Jacob liked it, I made a couple of changes to simplify and started doubling the recipe to be sure we had leftovers to freeze or just for him to have for several days if the mood were to strike.

If you’ve gotten bored with the same meal or are adventurous and not afraid to try something new, your family might like this.  

Breakfast Pizza

1 lb. *precooked turkey sausage crumbles
2 pkg. refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
2 c. grated Cheddar Cheese
2 c. grated Mozzarella Cheese
12 eggs, beaten
1 c. whole milk
1 1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp pepper

Line a 13″ x 18″ baking pan (half sheet) with **parchment paper.  Preheat oven to 375F.  
Separate crescent dough into rectangles and using fingers, press into pan to seal and form crust.  Bake for 5 minutes.  

Reduce oven temperature to 350F.  Sprinkle sausage and cheeses over dough.  Combine the remaining ingredients and pour over the sausage mixture.  Return to oven and bake for 30-35 minutes until eggs are set and starting to brown. 

Cut into squares and serve.    Yield:   24 squares

*I’ve found Jimmy Dean and Butterball make the turkey sausage crumbles. Probably prefer the Jimmy Dean brand but both work great.

**Tip:  The parchment paper step can be skipped.  From experience, I found using it, makes for fast clean-up as otherwise, egg and cheese baked in a pan, can be stubborn to remove.

When I cooked this last week, Jacob waited patiently for it to get done and cool enough to dig in. And then ate five squares as fast as I cut get one on his plate.

As I mentioned, the original recipe called for a smaller pan. Also, buying already cooked sausage wasn’t an option when it was printed but sure makes it quicker to put together:

1/2 lb. bulk pork sausage
1 pkg. refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
1 c. grated Cheddar Cheese
1 c. grated Mozzarella Cheese
6 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. whole milk
3/4 tsp oregano
1/8 tsp pepper

Cook sausage until browned; drain and set aside.  Separate crescent dough into 8 triangles; place triangles with points toward the center in a greased 12-inch pizza pan.  Press to seal and form a crust.  Bake at 375F for 5 minutes. 

Reduce oven temperature to 350F. Sprinkle sausage and cheeses over dough. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over the sausage mixture.  Bake for 25 to 35 minutes.  
Cut into triangles to serve, pizza style.  Yield: 8 slices

“Try it, you’ll like it.” At least, we think you will.

Is Honesty Always the Best Policy?

We have a definite bedtime routine for Jacob- 

Take meds.

Remind him to use the bathroom.

Pajamas on.

Get him to put toys away in his closet.

Check under bed for toys.

Also check around and under chair plus ottoman for toys.

Turn on fun lights.

Turn off strip that powers TV and VCR.

Turn off ceiling light at fixture.

Lock closet door. 

Once those are done, he listens to a Wheels on the Bus app on his kindle.  Sometimes for minutes and sometimes only seconds.  He’ll hand it back to us when he has had enough.

Say prayers.

Cover him up.

Turn off mirror ball lights.

Turn off window icicle lights.

Kiss him good night.

Leave the room, closing the door behind us.

The process is a nice routine for him.  The putting away all the toys and making it where he can’t turn his TV on, is to make sure he doesn’t watch TV all night or stay up playing with toys.  Every once in a while, we will forget to do something or miss a toy that gets left out. 

Sometimes a musical toy may be discovered shortly after it’s lights out for him because one of us will hear him playing.  Sometimes, one will be seen later on the video monitor or found the next morning either on his bed or nearby—thus explaining why he might be harder to wake up than usual. 

Last week as Mike was getting him to bed, a funny thing happened. They did their usual listen to the song and then Mike went to cover him up and Jacob leaned over the side of the bed, reached behind his chair and handed Mike this treehouse toy:

He knew he would be guilty of playing with it during the night and that it needed to be put in the closet and locked away. 

Bless his honest heart!!!  His dad had missed it in the clean swept to be sure toys were put away.  Jacob had spied it and knew he couldn’t be trusted. 

I wonder if he regretted it as his dad closed the door. Or could he have smiled knowing he did the right thing? 

I imagine he was asking himself, is honesty really, ALWAYS the best policy?

Special Birthday Wishes

She is a daughter, sister, wife, mother, teacher, aunt, niece, cousin, grandmother, seamstress, home cook, polio survivor, friend, homemaker, stained-glass artist, prayer warrior, cancer survivor…

She is Jacob’s Granny, and, today is her birthday.  It might be (I’m guessing here) the first one she’s had in 87 years, that she woke up alone.

But that does not mean she isn’t loved!! She is loved BIG, far, and wide by all who know her. While we are separated by miles and miles, we could not be closer in our hearts.

See for yourself-

Granny /’grane/noun ~ 1. Someone who loves unconditionally. 2. Someone who teaches, motivates, encourages, and gives the best hugs. 3. Someone who makes the best homemade bread. 4. Like mom, but way cooler. But you’re more than a definition, you are a cornerstone in this family that can’t be replaced. As we celebrate your birthday, I hope you feel all the love and know how truly special you are. You are the best granny EVER and we are so thankful to have you in our lives. HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! Love, Nick and Regan

 

Happy birthday Granny! We love you! Have a great birthday! Travis, Whitney, Mary Gwen, and Betsy

Happy Birthday Hilda Jo, a special friend I have known and loved almost all of my life. Many happy travels, games, and so many memories at the camphouse. Love you so much, Becky

Mom I don’t know where to begin except to say, I’m glad you are mine! God gives his best to his children and he gave me the best Mom. Hope your birthday feels extra special this year. I love you deeply, Terri

Mrs. Hilda Jo, I think about you and pray for you every single day. You are truly one of a kind and I’m so lucky to be able to love you, if even from afar. I hope you have a wonderful birthday full of love and laughter. You are always in my heart. Love, Cheri

Happy Birthday Hilda Jo! I remember meeting you for the first time back in the 50s when I wasn’t ‘family’ yet. I was only 18 and you were a college graduate with a job. I was nervous and you were welcoming then as you are now. And the fun times with you and Bobby, me and Hiram, along with your mother, cooking in their country kitchen! Seems like later when we were each pregnant with our first, that it was Hiram and Bobby who had morning sickness, not us. So, so many wonderful memories we made together. While the family tree shows you as my sister-in-law, you are so much more than that. I feel like you ARE MY sister. On this first birthday without Bobby, please know, dear sister, that you are loved so very much. I hope this day is as special as you are to me. Much, much love, Charlotte

Happy Birthday to one of our favorite people. I’m so thankful for you in our lives. You’ve always been an example of faith, strength, and love to us. I pray your day is filled with all the joy and love you give everyday to so many. Big hugs and love from your other kids, Dennis and Toni

Hooray! Our wonderful mom is 87 years young today! Mom, you are SO loved. We pray your special day is filled with joy, peace, love, and happiness! God blessed us big when he gave us a mom like you! Thank you mom for your courage, your faith, and your unconditional love. As you are facing this new chapter in your life, just know that not only do we want to celebrate your special day today, but we want to celebrate you each and every day of your life in the days and years ahead. May God bless you especially today, but also everyday with HIS favor and goodness as you allow him to be your husband for this season. Big birthday hugs! Love, Steve and Shellie

My wish for you is to know how much I love and admire you. And, to know that you are the role model for me with my family. Dianna

Happy Birthday Granny! We hope that you have a fabulous day and we love you bunches!! Sam, Natalie, Bryson, and Brody

Dear and precious friend, have a very happy birthday. I wish you all good things on your special day and of course, many, many more. You are so special and I am so thankful that God blessed me with you. Love you bunches, Mary

Happy Birthday to the sweetest and most talented lady I know!  I hope you have a wonderful birthday—and that means I hope your family pampers you and gives you lots of hugs and presents!  Much love, Ginger

We hope you have a fantastic birthday. We definitely hit the “Granny Jackpot” when God gave us you! We couldn’t ask for a better Granny. We love you so much, Zach and Stephanie

When I think about a Titus 2 woman, Mrs. Hilda Jo is one of the women that immediately comes to mind. She embodies all of the things I strive to be! She is a true example of a Godly lady! She embodies the love of Christ and I love how she shows everyone. I’ll never forget her teaching me how to make sourdough bread and the most delicious cinnamon rolls ever. We had the best time laughing, talking, learning, and making memories. She always makes it a point to ask about my kids and how they’re doing…and she always remembers what’s going on in their life…she’s truly one of the sweetest, most extraordinary women I know. Happy Birthday, Mrs. Hilda Jo! The Savells sure love you!

Happy Birthday to a special lady! Wishing you a happy day! Randy and Deborah

Happy Birthday to Granny! We love you very much and hope you have a wonderful birthday! Trevor, Jessica, and Tenley

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU, the Matriarch of the Woods Family! Hope you know how much you are LOVED! We celebrate YOU today in our thoughts and prayers. Thanking God for the example of faith you have shown us over the years and for this birthday He has given you. Hope your day is filled with all the things that make you happy and feel special! Enjoy your day! We love you, Joy and Mike

Happy happy birthday Aunt Hilda Jo. I hope you feel so loved and cherished today. Your faith and kindness is such a legacy for our family. Thank you for always loving us and praying for us. You are adored by all of us, Elizabeth

Hoping your birthday brings you a favorite song, scrumptious desserts, and smiles all day long!  Frances

Happy Birthday Hilda Jo! Thank you for being a dear friend, trusted confidant, and wise counselor. You are my “go to girl” for almost everything. You are very special to me! Hope your day is filled with blessings! Love you, Debi

Happy Birthday to my most favorite Mother-In-Law from your favorite, (well, you know!!!!!)

When I think about what Mrs. Hilda Jo has been to me, I simply must say she is whatever I need her to be. When I needed encouragement, she was my encourager. When I needed prayer, she was my intercessor. When I needed instruction, she was my teacher. When I needed a grandmother, she was my family. When I needed comfort, she was a comforter. When I needed wisdom, she was my advisor. When I needed friendship, she was my friend. Mrs. Hilda Jo, you have made my life sweeter by knowing you and being a part of your life. I could never thank you enough for what you have been to me. I love you. Happy Birthday! Natalie Duncan Emmons

Happy Birthday Granny! We love you so much and hope that you have a wonderful birthday. Can’t wait to have another donut day with you soon. Love, Josh, Ashley, Sindy, Marietta, and Savannah

To Hilda Jo, a friend for many, many years. One of the best cooks I know. We have had so much fun playing board games. Wishing you a very happy birthday and many more. Love you like family! Love, Sarah

Wishing you health, peace, wonderful memories and much love on your special day. Happy Birthday! Love you, Anna Katherine and Les

I am so thankful to have such a role model to look up to as I try to live my life for the Lord. On this special day, we celebrate how blessed the world became when God gave us you! Happy Birthday! Much love, Heather

Happy Birthday, Aunt Hilda Jo! I hope you have a wonderful day celebrating your birthday. Shelia

There are people in our lives that hold a special place that no one else ever could. Want to wish this sweet, precious lady a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Lissie and JD

HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU, Mrs. Hilda Jo! The mother of one of my dearest-sweetest-talented friends, Terri…you taught her well! Wishing you a very, very blessed birthday…so thankful our paths crossed. You are loved! Alecia

We cannot put into words how much we love you! We hope today is just as special for you as you are to us!! Happy Birthday!! Love, Tanner and Kara

Happy Birthday, Aunt Hilda Jo! We love you so much and are thinking about you today! Leslie

My sister, my friend, and my mentor. Always the same: dependable, loving, and faithful. What a comfort you have been to me! I’m so glad the Lord put you into my life! Wishing you the best birthday ever!! Love you so much, Stacy

Aunt Hilda Jo, When I look back on my life, some of my earliest and most special memories are of you being a huge part. As I became a mom, I knew what kind of mom I wanted to be because I watched you. I knew what kind of daughter I wanted to be because I watched you. I only just recently realized that you may not have known what a big impact you had on my formative years, but that impact never left me. I treasure having you as such a big presence in my life. I hate that I haven’t been able to get down to Mississippi more through the years that I was raising my kids, but am happy that I’m entering a time in my life where I think that can happen more. I look forward to each time I can see you and hug your neck! I love you so much! Lea Anne

Happy birthday Mrs. Hilda Jo! We hope you have a very special day! Larry, Becky, and Lacy

Happy Happy Birthday!! I wish you all the love and still keeping you in our prayers. Love you much, Paul and Robin

A true woman of virtue, character, faith, and beauty. She is a Titus 2 woman in my life. An example to follow, an encourager to run to, a prayer warrior to call on and my sweet friend. I love you to the moon and back, Mrs. Hilda Jo, Nicole Smith

Happy Birthday, Granny! We are so thankful for how you love and take care of us all so well. No day in Forest is complete without a visit to your house and PB&J and/or ham sandwiches on your delicious bread. Maddie has also loved getting to hear you share memories about your life. Thank you for sharing your love of stained glass with us, too. We will always adore our cross project we all made together. We love you so much and hope you feel as cherished and appreciated as you truly are today! Tanner and Madeline

Miss Hilda, when I think about you, I think of someone who has been the greatest support system that Larry and I could have. All the cards of encouragement, every phone call you made just to check on us. And for every time that we felt like we could not keep going, you held our arms up thru prayer. You will never know the impact you have had on our lives. I hope you have a very happy birthday our sweet friend. We love you! Bro. Larry and Pequita

Happy Birthday Granny, I love you sooooooooo much!  My all-time favorite of yours is Mac and Cheese.  Pictured is when I had some for my birthday. I hope Mom makes me some more real soon in honor of your birthday! Thought by Jacob

Happy, Happy Birthday Mom, Aunt Hilda Jo, Hilda Jo, Granny!

She is the most selfless person I know.  It took me becoming a mom before I could even begin to understand what that suggested.  Growing up, I really didn’t have a clue what it meant to put others before my teenage self.  Looking back and continuing to this day, I have seen her sacrificing for her family. It came naturally to her. Self is the last name on her list.  Always, always thinking of others was the example she set. One I strive to follow.

Granny doesn’t enjoy or need to be in the spotlight or the center of attention but, like all of us, she likes to know she is being thought of! And today, she can be the center of attention from her recliner as she takes each of your wishes to heart.

Hope we’ve made it a birthday to remember!

Thank You!

Sunday Special Edition, https://problemfreephilosophy.blog/2021/08/15/sunday-special-edition/, published August 15, 2021 was my 150th post.  I’ve been blogging for close to 3 years now.  There were times when I’d have 2-4 posts in the queue waiting to go live.  And others times I’d be getting my thoughts together and finalizing down to the last few hours before my goal of a new post scheduled for early each Thursday morning.  It has been everything from good therapy to painful memories while telling stories about my boy and our family life.

As I’ve openly shared, the last year has brought so many unexpected things for us to process. Learn a new normal. I want to be intentional in my days while remaining transparent and real in our journey.

To that end, I’m approaching this next year a little differently. It is time to reevaluate rather than start repeating myself!  I had no goals for how long I’d call myself a blogger. I have given myself permission to back off and drop the goal of a post every week. I don’t know what that will look like – maybe some weeks I’ll share twice and some months, only once? When a blog does go live, I will continue to share the link on the Facebook page, Jacob’s Problem Free Philosophy. Feel free to follow along there. If you aren’t an email subscriber, now might be the time to join so you will be notified rather than count on something new each Thursday.

While Jacob is the star of the show, I’ll keep him in front because we know he is who y’all want to see, amiright?

He is hanging out at home with us these days with the upsurge of the Delta variant. Tuesday afternoon I was chilling, feet propped up in the bedroom recliner and reading. This sweet fella came in and wanted me to get up.

“Jacob, how ’bout you sit down and I’ll sing to you.” He quickly took me up on the suggestion. I proceeded to sing a simple tune with one line, “sing a song about Jacob, tra la la la, sing a song about Jacob, tra la la laaaaa!” Notice the blur in the first picture on his left side? Every time I’d take a breath, he would slap one or both hands on the couch meaning one thing, KEEP ON SINGING! And I did for what seemed like hours! It was fun to make him happy and have him chill out with me.

For you who have taken the time to comment whether here, through a text, on Facebook, or in person, it means so very, very much. Every single comment! When I set out to blog, I was fully aware of the millions, yes MILLIONS of blogs that could draw you in. I cannot thank you enough for your support and following.  Stay tuned.

I love how you have loved us! 

Sunday Special Edition

Is there any hope of me getting better?

I don’t know Daddy.  You have worked so very hard and made progress.  Now it seems you’ll have to work harder and I’m not sure it will be enough.

He nods but doesn’t comment.

What do you hope will happen?

I hope I’ll go to heaven soon.

My eyes overflow with tears and now it’s my turn to only nod.

I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to make you cry.

Oh, daddy, heaven is what I want for you.  It’s okay.  I’m thankful that is what you want, too!

He pats my arm and his eyes water.

I will miss you like crazy but I will see you again one day.

Again, he is watching my face and patting my arm.

It is okay!  We will be okay.  I promise we will take care of mom.  She will be okay, too.

This morning was four weeks since my dad relocated to heaven. I don’t have to wonder what happened when he took his last breath in Baptist Hospital. I know with all of my being because my dad believed in this promise of God.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

My family was given the gift of time in my dad’s last weeks.  So many don’t have the chance to say what’s on their heart to a loved one.  They think that opportunity will come another day.  Instead, their loved one is taken in an instant and they’ve missed the chance.

My mom, my siblings, and our spouses were each handed that gift. To say I love you soooooooo much before we left his room and for him to say it back. That happened countless times in the last few weeks. The conversation above took place a week before he passed into eternity.

In those last days, we witnessed him point toward heaven, open his mouth in expressions of awe, and mumble words we couldn’t understand. Knowing angels were near and God was with us brought unspeakable peace.

I had the privilege of spending a big portion of his last day with him.  He was unresponsive.  When it was time for me to leave, I hugged him tight and whispered in his ear.  “Daddy, I love you soooooo much.  Angels are all around you, Jesus is coming to take you home.  We will be okay.  I’ll see you soon.” 

About 9 hours later, my brother called me, “he’s gone.” 

I was too emotional to tell Jacob about his granddaddy.  Mike did and Jacob listened carefully.  I’m sure that night he fell asleep with his granddaddy on his mind. 

Jacob was the first grandchild on my side of the family. Through Jacob’s years, his granddaddy was always looking for ways to make Jacob happy.  To DO something for Jacob. To help us and help him.  He built Jacob’s toybox (which is still in use today).  When he renovated an old mill into a cabin for our family, Jacob had his own bedroom.  Jacob would come through singing and twirling and he’d say, “Jacob likes that”. Often, he’d say something like, maybe this will help with Jacob.  Or, maybe Jacob will like this.  Jacob got his love for hot dogs and cheese from his granddaddy. 

Two weeks after the funeral we took Jacob to his Granddaddy and Granny’s house. Attending the funeral wasn’t possible for him. I talked to him beforehand explaining that Granddaddy wouldn’t be at the house because he was in heaven. Again, Jacob got very still and listened to every word. I saw a tiny smile as if he was saying, “I know where he is, mom.”

When we got there, Jacob went into the house immediately. That in itself was unusual because he’d often just sit in the van for a while, or perhaps go sit in a chair on the porch. He walked in exploring. Granny and I stood back just to let him look around. I knew Jacob had gone into the master bedroom and decided I’d peep in to see what he was doing. He was standing in the closet and quickly shut the door.

I eased it open and watched him. Slowly looking at the contents, touching a few things. Soon Granny came and he took her hand and pulled her into the closet with her talking about Granddaddy’s clothes. He got a suitcase and gave it to Granny. I have no idea, NO IDEA what that meant. I like to think it was his way of saying, let’s pack this and go where Granddaddy is.

That day, he was nosy as usual, opening drawers and cabinet doors.  He played on Granny and Granddaddy’s king-size bed for a long time, listening to music. Maybe his granddaddy was smiling from his heavenly home, knowing Jacob likes that.

I think if Jacob could talk, he’d say what he likes most is that he knows he will see his granddaddy again because heaven is real.

Other grandparents who’ve loved Jacob before leaving this earth are there, too. There is Big Mother his great, great grandmother; Great Gran and Grandmother, his great grandparents; Mamaw Jewel, another great grandmother; Papaw and Mamaw, his grandparents.

I pray you know Jesus Christ and have the assurance that you will one day meet him face-to-face. And, also get to see your loved ones and meet ours, who are believers and spending their days worshiping the King of Kings along with my dad, Jacob’s Granddaddy.

Is there any hope of getting better? I hope I go to heaven soon. His hope became reality, he is healed, and he is better than he has ever been!

Many Faces of Jacob

“Jacob smile!” “Say cheese” sure doesn’t work with a non-verbal kid. While I’ve never successfully gotten a posed picture of Jacob smiling. I have gotten some really fun photos.

13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Psalm 139:13-16

Don’t have to tell me to smile when I see this sweet fella’s face!! So thankful God created this handsome face for me to love!

Win Some, Learn Some

This was a Facebook post from almost three years ago:

The morning with Jacob was Rough with a capital R!  First wake up was 1 hour before I wanted to leave home.  By all appearances, he slept great last night.  He was sleeping so soundly that he did not want to get up.  After a couple more times of me going into his room to get him moving, he finally arose. 

Time to get dressed and I usually open a drawer and tell him to pick a shirt.  Well today, he was bent on opening a different drawer and getting out a winter pajama shirt.  While I steered him toward short sleeves, he’d jerk away whatever shirt I had in my hand, toss it and pull out a different shirt.  Finally, after a wrestling match, I got him dressed.  (And he put shirts back in the drawer as pictured.)

Do you know those games at the fair where you try to hit a moving target to win a big prize?  I liken that to putting on Jacob’s socks.  No joke.  He is flailing around moving his foot back and forth, up and down, all around, and then curls his toes under.  Once I’ve achieved getting a sock on, he may take it off only to start the process again.  It feels like I should have won a gigantic teddy bear by the time I got both socks and shoes on today. 

All this time, Jacob is being a bully.  That is hard for me to say but there is really no other word to describe it.  Strong arming me, swatting at me, making me sorry I woke him. 

Once we get in the van, he is cooperative.  Probably tired by now! I know I am. We’re buckled in and backing out and the toy that goes everywhere with him, WILL NOT play.  UGH!  Arggghhh!!  I cut the van off and go back in the house to retrieve a working toy and change out the fobs on it (in case it gets lost). 

Once at his day program, he sits in the van for 13 minutes refusing to get out.  Different staffers come by and greet him, I tell him all sorts of reasons he needs to get out so that I can go to work.  The van is cut off so he can’t watch a DVD or feel all comfortable while he waits, all the while, I am starting to get hot (in more ways than one)! 

Once he exits and goes into the building, I am so frazzled that I drive to work in tears.  I really wanted to just go home. I am wishing medical marijuana was legal in our state—for me, not him. Okay, maybe him.  Rough morning I tell ya.

When I went to pick him up in the afternoon, he came right out and quickly got in the van. A staffer said, “Jacob went on a ride today.  Across the spillway, by the fire station, the church, and across the spillway again.  He had a good time and good day!” 

For the second time that day, I drove away from SV in tears.  But this time, happy tears.  So thankful that while the easier thing would have been to let him stay home today, I didn’t.   He enjoyed being the sole passenger as two staff members drove him around to take in the scenery and beautiful day.  Thank you, Lord, for the little things that bring him pleasure and make my heart smile.

Win some, learn some. 

I (we) have learned a lot through the years of parenting Jacob.  Sometimes, we choose to let him have his way.  Good or bad, it is the best solution some days.  Don’t borrow trouble, focus on the situation at hand! Sometimes we use a bribe.  Mini Hershey bars have come in handy when we need him to follow through on a task.  Sometimes what seems like a lost cause, can turn into a win for all of us. 

No matter how your day starts, when it ends, there was probably something you can list as a win and maybe you learned something along the way, too.  

3 There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, 4 and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. 5 In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary – we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!

Romans 5:3-5 MSG

Let’s Explore

Jacob has been back attending his day program for about 5 months now. We’ve had a lot of different things going on so the familiarity is helpful in Jacob’s contentment level and us juggling various commitments.

Not long ago when we arrived to pick him up, one of the young ladies that attends, said, “Jacob has gone on a walk with S.” 

Where he attends, it is actually 2 buildings.  One has three suites, each having it’s own purpose and the other is where Jacob spends most of his days.  But he likes to go visiting next door.  I’m told that happens fairly often.  Maybe he enjoys being outdoors and circling the area or more than likely his thing is going door to door to check out what everyone is doing. 

Back in May, the manager sent me some fun photos of one of those days.

Seems Jacob has picked out a new office space to call his own.  I love how he makes himself at home and the ’real owner’ lets him do that.  If you are keeping up, this would be his third office space since he’s been in the program.   That’s a lot in 8 1/2 years! 

Another day of being nosy. We’ve always joked that Jacob wants to be in administration there. He continues to prove our point!

We had his annual care plan meeting a couple of month ago.  It felt really great to hear just how comfortable Jacob is when he is away from us.  That says a lot about how the staff members are in tune with him and are doing everything they can to meet his needs. 

Jacob is not one to want to go on a group outing. He is happy to explore whatever is within his reach. At drop off, I imagine him going through, in his mind, what he wants to do that day. Check out the snack closet and pick a favorite to eat. Maybe S brought gummy worms. See what Mr. B has on his desk. Listen to music. Hear about A’s mission trip. Explore next door. Kick off his shoes and stretch out on the couch. Look to see if E brought his guitar.

Eight years ago we moved to be closer to this program. A move that simplified our life in many ways. I’m thankful it worked out and I’m certain Jacob is, too.

Positive Pause

This was posted June 10 and Jacob’s granddaddy was featured. This past Sunday he took his last breath on earth and woke up in heaven. We celebrated his life yesterday. I’ll blog more about him another day but for now, sharing this one again.

I was raised to focus on the positive.  Training yourself to look for the good, what is right, worthwhile, goes a long, long way toward a healthy mental state.

Today’s blog is not directly about Jacob. But, it is about how I respond to him and not letting my circumstances pull me down.  There is something to be said about looking on the bright side.  It will make today, tomorrow, and the day after that better! 

The story below was shared with me probably 20 years ago.  I cannot give credit to the author because I haven’t been able to confirm. 

Maybe it will give you pause and something to think about as well.

The 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud lady, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o’clock, with her hair fashionably coiffed and makeup perfectly applied, even though she is legally blind, moved to a nursing home yesterday. Her husband of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary.

After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, she smiled sweetly when told her room was ready. As she maneuvered her walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of her tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on her window.  “I love it,” she stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy. 

“Mrs. Jones, you haven’t seen the room…just wait.”

“That doesn’t have anything to do with it.” she replied. “Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time.  Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged, it’s how I arrange my mind.  I already decided to love it.  It’s a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do.  Each day is a gift, and as long as my eye open I’ll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I’ve stored away, just for this time in my life.”  

She went on to explain, “old age is like a bank account, you withdraw from what you’ve put in.  So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories.  Thank you for your part in filling my memory bank.  I am still depositing.”

And with a smile, she said: “remember the five simple rules to be happy:

Free your heart from hatred.

Free your mind from worries.

Live simply.

Give more.

Expect less and enjoy every moment.” 

Jacob’s Granny recounts her own grandmother talking about special days giving her lots to think about.  Fun memories that were deposited in her bank. 

Now she is doing the same.  Granny started a Donut Day with her great-granddaughters (Jacob’s nieces).  While it is a tiring day from start to finish, she wouldn’t trade it for anything.  The giggles, sprinkles, tasting, powdered sugar, smiles, and hugs are all going in her memory bank. 

Free your heart from hatred. Proverbs 10:12 says: Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.

Free your mind from worries. Matthew 6:25-27 says: Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

Live simply. Philippians 4:11-13 says: I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Give more. Acts 20:35 says: You’ll not likely go wrong here if you keep remembering that our Master said, ‘You’re far happier giving than getting.’ The Message

Expect less and enjoy the moment. Psalm 16:11 says: You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

A week ago, we received hard news about Jacob’s granddaddy. Words like brain atrophy and dementia. A decline that we saw but didn’t seem real until a neurologist said so. Thankfully, he is still able to recall some new information. But it is those special memories he deposited through the years that will bring him more peace and joy. He’ll have those to draw from on down days.

Yesterday as I visited him, his speech therapist was working with him. He said, “tell her about Jacob”. I hope memories of him singing to Jacob will bring him happiness. He’s always loved and appreciated music but he wasn’t one to sing. But he did to his first born grandson. Recent events may not stick with him long but he has deposited much to make him smile.

Being with him reminds me to focus on the good times while we make memories. While he interacted with hospital staff last week, he said, “if you are friendly to people, they will be friendly back”. I’m soaking up his wisdom for the day I’ll need to make a withdrawal.

Create a positive pause and see what you might deposit in your memory bank.  You’ll be glad you did as your happiness grows.