Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Humboldt wild grapes

While working with my ladies today, the Lord gave me the greatest illustration of aging. If we look at a bunch of grapes we will see that there are many grapes in one grouping, but all in various stages of ripeness. The younger grapes are green and hard and have not come into their full maturity yet. This would represent young people in their first 20 yrs. Then you have the ripening grapes that in themselves have various levels of ripeness. Some are partially green while turning their more ripe color of purple at the same time. This would be those people who are in their 30's. Then there are others at their peak of ripeness. Their color is just the right shade of purple, their texture is just the right amount of firmness, and their flavor is the absolute sweetest it could possibly be. These might represent people in their early 40's. But, wait...these grapes are only so sweet for a couple of days, then their flavor begins to wane somewhat. Just like in our late 40's...we ask ourselves, "where did these wrinkles come from? Or, I don't remember my skin being so dry or my hair being so thin". We would call this midlife. As color in the grapes begins to deepen, the flavor begins to deepen as well and the grapes are only useful for eating fresh for a couple more days. Which brings us to the downward slide of midlife, our 50's. We are still in our prime but not for very long. Then eventually, the grapes will transform from grapes to raisins. We can still eat them because they are now "dried fruit" which is still something that we can use. So now we are looking at our 60's. Wrinkled, but with enough life to contribute. As we march on into our 70's we are like the raisins that are still edible, but now just not quite as satisfying as before. Like the ones that we leave in the container too long in the cupboard. And lastly, there are always a few fruits on the vine that have completely ripened already and they are no longer able to be used for any kind of consumption. They are shriveled and dry and discarded with the stems. I guess this would be us in our 80's and 90's. Most of us don't make it any further than this.
Morbid, I know. Even depressing. We don't like to ponder our frailty, our temporary state of being. I am sorry to be so contemplative, but I have been so confronted with it lately that I am completely overwhelmed with it. One of my little ladies took a turn for the worse today. Norma has had that upper respiratory virus that is going around and it is getting the best of her. Pray for her. And bear good fruit while you can.....

Monday, February 25, 2008

Training days

Today was my first day with Norma and Lucille. These two gals are roommates at the resident home where I am doing my nurse assistant training. They have the distinct honor of being the very first persons to receive my somewhat non-existent skills of "A.M. Care. ” This morning care would include dressing, washing, brushing and preparing these fine ladies for their soon to arrive breakfast. Upon arrival, I found that Lucille had already made a B-line for the dining hall. She was nowhere to be found. Norma on the other hand was snoozing soundly in her warm bed, mouth agape with a slight turning up of the corners. She was enjoying some sweet sleep. I hated to wake her, but I had a mission. Three of us were assigned to take care of these girls, which at first I thought a little ridiculous, but then again, I hadn't met Lucille yet. More on that later. Norma awakened reluctantly only to have these three overeager student trainees looking at her like she were a princess waiting to be attended to. She gently smiled at the anticipation of being showered with attention or perhaps because she thought this would be the perfect opportunity to have a little fun with us. We informed her we were going to give her a tub bath, bubbles and all, to which she amiably acquiesced. Things went pretty well in the bathing room until we turned on the air jets in the tub and the bubbles really began to grow! Apparently we had used a little bit too much soap! Pretty soon Norma had wispy white bubbles creeping up to her chin. We decided,(as a group, of course) to pull the plug and rinse her off with the hand held shower. This proved to be a very good decision and Norma was hoisted from the tub and promptly dressed. Mission accomplished. Into the wheelchair and off to breakfast we went. (another group decision.).

Norma sat at the table with her usual friends. You know these folks will let you know when things are not quite on spot. Wrong table? Oh.... she likes to go over there? Got it. They don't miss a beat. So with breakfast served, we went off to find a new mission. Where was Lucille?

After several trips down the hall, through the dining area then back to the room, we found her. She was sitting quietly in her chair keeping an eye on the nurse's station. I bent down to say hello to her when someone tapped me on the shoulder and warned me. “She hits and scratches, so watch out.” Thanks for the tip, I thought. I carefully bent down to greet her and she reached out to take my hand. She was a little bit of a gal. Probably only 90 lbs or so. She pensively looked up at me as I said hello and then quietly wept. Just for a second. Then she let me know who was in charge here, and that she meant business. She was a feisty little thing! Now I knew why they put us all together with these sweet ladies. Size is not match even when someone is 40 yrs older than you are, let me tell you. Actually, she wasn't difficult. After all, how many other N. A. had she had to put up with lately? Were they all as clumsy as me? If so, I could totally see her annoyance. I told her we were going to take her back to her room and freshen her up a bit so she could take a rest on her bed. Once we got her on her bed, she made it very clear to us that she didn't like being fussed with. We did our best to make her as comfortable as we could. I think I was the only one who survived the entire ordeal with out a poke or a jab or a nip, but we again accomplished our mission.

About an hour later, I looked in on our gals and found them comfortably sleeping away the late morning. Tomorrow I will have the same two ladies, so as they say, we will see what the morrow brings. Oh, you're wondering about the photo of the horse? I just thought it was a pretty picture of Shyanne.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Above Humboldt

Today I climbed a mountain. A mountain called Monument. When the morning sun is
beaming through my eastern facing windows and the village life gets too close, I head for the hills. This is where my I can give my being a much needed rest. I stood there on that mountain that gazes down upon my town amazed at the beauty and wonder that laid before me. The carefully organized little town of Scotia, the rolling hills of Hydesville, the friendly town of Fortuna set next to the path of the Eel River which makes its way leisurely down to the Pacific Ocean all were visible. Even the Humboldt Bay was clearly in view in the far distance. WOW! I had never before beheld such a view of this area! The day was what I like to call a "turquoise" day, when the sky and the ocean are that incredible shade of blue that just draws you into it. The kind of day that demands that you get out and experience its fullness. Days like this are little pieces of heaven that break off and land here just for us to enjoy. God likes to give us a glimpse of His world. That's what I told my kids, anyway! The road that lay before me beckoned me to its summit and there I stood, gazing down upon the day. I love Humboldt county. So many areas to explore, so many places to get away from town and just get quiet.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


I had a good long walk today. I was able to sneak away from the fam and grab some alone time. I don't usually have alot of that since my fam is fairly large and it takes quite a bit of attention to detail to keep it functioning at a steady pace. So when the opportunity arises I quickly grab it and go. I have been trying to get out and about more when the weather is nice. This time of year it can be hit or miss. Today was beautiful. While planning my escape, I remembered this old country road in Ferndale that meanders along a quiet creek winding its way down to the Eel River. I stumbled upon this trek while attending a Senior Hiking club outing. (Yes, I do now qualify to participate in senior things. They keep lowering the age for qualifying, so now at 50, I can go along with them!) A few weeks ago we went on this 5 mile walk as a group, but today it was mine alone. I took my dog along and off we went. I walked, I prayed, I sang, and I marveled at just how beautiful God has created this planet we call Earth. Cows were grazing on the gently sloping hills, some pairing with newborn calves. Horses basked in the afternoon sun, drinking in its warmth. And robins were everywhere. I felt so alive and so privileged to be able to enjoy such wonders. They are so simple, but I never want to take them for granted. I know that time marches on and some day I may not have this privilege, so I treasure each day as the minutes tick by. I thought as I prayed, how magnificent God has created this world in which we live and how luring it is, drawing us into its pleasures. I want to experience all of it, appreciate every bit of it, and glorify God in all of it.
I thought about how privileged these people are who live out here and how ashamed I was of myself for wishing that I could live in one of these fine houses. As I erased the lustful thoughts, I began to realize that I don't have to own a piece of this country life to enjoy its bounty. God has provided for me many opportunities to partake in experiencing rural living just by living in Humboldt County. For example, our friends ranch in Salmon Creek, http://theranchonsalmoncreek.blogspot.com
is a wonderful place where we spend time with our friends. And on any given day I can pick and choose a rural country road and admire it in all its beauty. I'm grateful for any and all opportunities God gives to enjoy His creation.

Monday, February 04, 2008


I have started another new adventure in my life. Yes, another is the key word here. About 7 yrs ago, it was to make soap and have a small cottage business. Prior to that it was to have a janitorial service. And even before that it was to homeschool all of my children. This time the journey involves going back to college. Call it a midlife thing, but it just kind of came on suddenly. I was helping my kids with their class schedules at the local Community College and while browsing through the class listings I came across a one semester class on Basic Patient Care. Hmmmm. The class involves caring for those who can't care for themselves very well; such as the elderly or the sick. I thought about how practical a skill like this might be to meet the needs of my future hope, (another adventure) which is to serve as a missionary of some sort when my hubby retires. So I enrolled in the class and am now into my third week. So far it is very basic and very practical...just as I thought it might be. But the wonderful state of California has required that I receive 150 hours of training before I can be certified in basic and practical skills such as these. So far I have brushed my friend's teeth and washed her face, made a bed while a hermaphradite mannequin lifelessly reclined upon it, carefully moved said mannequin to a more "comfortable" position only to have his/her leg fall off onto the floor, in addition to a number of other basic and practical skills. I have yet to actually work on any real "residents" thus far, though this time is fast approaching in the next couple of weeks. (I must say, though, these plastic patients are very compliant). I am hoping that as I achieve this new stage of basic enlightenment, other scenarios will have a more successful outcome than those in the last few days. For example, I was instructed to dress "Mr. Smith" the other day only to find that as I raised his bed sheet, his bottom half didn't match his upper half. He looked like "Mrs. Smith" from the waist down! Now, that's just not right! I suspect that doing this type of work will have its share of surprises, but I'm not so sure I am ready for most of them. Let's face it...growing old is not pretty. I will be doing everything that the higher skilled and higher paid nurses don't want to do. But, I do hope, seriously, that I can gain some experience in caring for others while I prepare for a future of service for the Lord. As I seek Him, each and every step of the way, everyday, is an adventure, so I am trusting that all of this will have a very positive outcome. Until the next interesting concept comes along...

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Grow Like the Redwoods

How does it happen? You blink and they grow up. One day they seek you out for food and comfort and before you realize it, all they want are the keys to the car. Well, not really, but my goodness, how quickly it does seem to happen. Tonight she went to the semi-formal. She went with a group, so at least it wasn't a boyfriend thing.
....She looked so beautiful. She spent a good part of the afternoon getting herself ready. Her sister came over to help her do her hair and makeup. Carefully making sure everything looked good together, not too much mascara, just the right amount of eye shadow, a little blush.
.....My, she looked beautiful. She always has been a beauty. Even as a baby she glowed with a warm smile that she eagerly shared with anyone who looked her way. She still smiles continually. Her ability to look at the world in all its splendor, seeing only the things that are good; it's contagious. I almost used "Joy" as her middle name.
I know she will have a great time with her friends, laughing, dancing, just hanging out.
I wish it all didn't pass so quickly. I wish we could freeze frame certain parts of our lives. The parts that we like. I am so glad to have been a part of her life. Glad that I have helped shape and mold her into the woman she will become. A young man's wife. A child's mother. It is not only an incredible experience to parent her, but it is truly a joyful one. Before long I will be crying at her wedding, so I probably shouldn't get so melancholy about all this! Just more ponderings...