A Sister in Need is a Sister in Deed

This past August 8, a Monday evening, at approximately 7 pm, aliens invaded my body, lit a campfire and shot each other with darts causing me the worst pain and nausea I have ever experienced.  Having grown up with a sensitive stomach I’ve spent many an hour vomiting after consuming rich or high fat foods.  Since I am not Jerry from Seinfeld or Ted from How I Met Your Mother I have no proud record of how long it has been since the last time I vomited.  It has happened all too often during my lifetime.

But as I was puking up my toes for the 3rd time that evening, I said to myself, “Something is worse this time, but how handy it is that my sister lives just upstairs.  I shall give her a call and have her drive me to the emergency room.”
So I called.  And called.  And called again.  Her car was in the driveway so I assumed she was home.  I went to her front door and rang the bell.  And rang.  And rang again.  And cried.  And through up some more.
Then I remembered she was attending the Bible Study next door.  So I went, shaking and sweating with puke bowl in hand, and knocked and opened the door.  “I need Chrystal,” I sobbed.  “She’s not here tonight.  What’s wro…?”  But before their final words were spoken I was headed back to her front door for one last try.  Ring, ring, ring.  Still nothing.
Sheryl a nurse friend of mine lives nearby and I gave her a call.  She arrived in no time and I was on my way to the hospital.  Yea Sheryl.
They took me right in and gave me some morphine.  Hmm…Strange sensation intravenous drugs.  You can actually feel it ooze through your body with an, “I can see why people do this recreationally,” thought or two as it does.  Alas, this first dose helped only slightly, but enough for me to lie still.  I had to wait before they could give me more.  After a couple of hours, I suggested Sheryl call another friend, Linda, to tag team with her.  Linda didn’t have to work the next day and I wanted Sheryl to get some rest.  Linda arrived and Sheryl went home.  But not before reminding the nursing staff I needed my fluids bag replaced and that it was time for my next round of morphine.  It’s great to have a nurse for a friend.
Being in a pain meds haze I can’t remember exactly when Chrystal texted but I do remember the content.  It went something like this:  “Hey, what ya doin’.  I’m in the backyard on the trampoline.  It’s a beautiful night.  Come out and enjoy it with me.”  I handed the phone to Sheryl, or was it Linda at that point, don’t know.  Whoever it was called her and told her where I was. 
Turns out Chrystal had been upstairs in her bedroom the entire time, with the air conditioner on causing her not to hear the phone or doorbell. 
I will have to share the ins and outs of the reasons why they didn’t take my gallbladder out that night and why I had to wait two months for the surgery in Thursday’s post.  But fast forward from August 8 to October 14…
Around midnight the Friday night before my scheduled surgery on the following Tuesday, the aliens were back and I wound up on the bathroom floor again.  This time it was much worse and I felt pain in the same place as well as just to the left and in my back.  So, once again, I called my sister upstairs; no answer.  She was obviously sleeping with her phone off.  I had texted her a few hours earlier telling her I wasn’t feeling well and received no answer then as well.  So, wasting no time, I called my friend Dawn, waking her up, and cried, “Make them TAKE IT OUT!!!”  She couldn’t quite tell what I was saying because I was crying so badly, but she assumed what was happening and made it to my house. 
Waiting for Dawn to arrive, I christened my sister’s front yard. 
I shall share the details of my health issues and hospital stay in Thursdays post as well. Fast forward to my first day back at work two weeks later…
“And thank you, Lord,” prayed my principal Mr. Whittlesey, “that Dana is blessed to have her sister living just upstairs to help her out in times like these.”  Seriously?  Of course, after the Amen I had to share the real story.
Chrystal really is a great sister and feels guilty she didn’t know I needed help, but that doesn’t make it any less fun to tease her about this.
Question:  Are you a “Jerry” or “Ted” and have a non-vomit record going?  Or are you more like me?

Basement Dweller Thanks

I started thinking about my house the other night.  I was missing it but decided I couldn’t let my mind wander east 7 miles.  So I stopped and decided to count my blessings and think on all the good things of where I am now.  Being a basement dweller is working out fine.  Now do I step out and say it is working out fine “for now” or just keep saying it is working out fine.  Because it is.  But I do miss my house.
I am happy here.  There is far less to clean here than in my house.  Actually, there is just as much cat hair to clean up it is just in a more concentrated area. 
Also, my sister lives just upstairs.  You would think that would be handy but will come to find out differently in a future post.
Living within walking distance of where I work has saved me money on gas.  And when I recently had a flat tire I didn’t have to rush to get it fixed.  Funny thing, nobody mentioned to me it was looking low…
I met my renters the other day.  I have a property management company that handles most things but the renters wanted me to come out and discuss the yard.  I was happy to do so.  I was especially happy to do so when they said they liked doing yard work and just wanted my okay with what they were doing.
They had painted my bright “hello I’m yellow” guest room to a softer, more easier on the eyes sage green.  Much, much better.  That yellow was a bit harsh no matter how hard I tried to soften it.
They have a beautiful dog.  Can’t remember what kind, but just picture a sweet checkerboardy looking hound dog that would love chasing squirrels and the like through a field.  Unfortunately he just has my bark dust 10x 20 ish side yard to romp.  I think even Mary and Martha would like him.
I know God provided this apartment for me at just the right time.  It was available a year ago but I wasn’t quite ready.  If I had moved in then I think I would have grieved not being in my house instead of just missing it from time to time.
So for now, or longer, I am content, and thankful, to be a basement dweller.  God’s timing is best.
Question:  Are you content and thankful?

A Hot Single Turns 40

I am back at my blogging post after a brief hospital stay and recovery.  Thanks for being patient and mentioning that you missed me!
Me and Amy at her 40th Birthday
Camping Trip.
Amid fits of laughter my intensely beautiful and surprisingly funny friend waves her arm across the air like a banner and announces, “Aaaaaamy’s Fuuun and Faaaabulous Fortieth Frieeeends and Faaamily Festiiiivitiiies!!!!!”   Whee!  It became our mantra for the past few weeks looking forward to the camping trip celebrating Amy saying goodbye to her thirties. 
I say “intensely beautiful” because the men in Italy could not get enough of her.  She was even kissed by our very first waiter in Rome.  I was watching him throughout our meal and suspected he felt a little hubba hubba for our Amy.  My suspicions were confirmed when he wanted to personally escort her to the restroom, which upon her return is when he planted a juicy one on her cheek.  She was also hit on by a leather store owner as well as eyed up and down by any male with a heartbeat as she passed by. 
And she’s “surprisingly funny” because of the stereotype that beautiful women aren’t funny.  Well she is.  Funny in a sneaky, hee hee, sort of way.
Amy is a kindred spirit to me.  We both made it to 40 by “never finding a man who could stand to be as deliriously happy as we would make him.”  We are the special kind of SingleMinded people that know, though being married would be a wonderful thing, we don’t have to wait for a walk down the aisle for life to happen.
I watched her with the children of her friends attending the, “Aaaaaamy’s Fuuun and Faaaabulous Fortieth Frieeeends and Faaamily Festiiiivitiiies,” and knew she was making an impact on young lives.  I saw the respect and admiration of the husbands in attendance knowing she had built in handymen, heavy-thing-lifters and advice-givers when needed.
I also know she has a lover of her soul that fills the gap.
Being singleminded, when done well, can be Faaabulous when you have great Frieeeends and Faaamily for Fuuun Festiiivitiiiies!
Question:  Do you have an Amy in your life?

I’m a Sicko

Hello Dear Blog World Friends,

Sorry I haven’t posted anything for a bit.  And between having no internet at home and not being able to go to work because of a silly internal organ that is misbehaving, I won’t post again until early November.

I look forward to having my life back to normal.  Normal??

With Love From Your SingleMinded Friend,
Dana

Are you listening…

This video has been making the rounds on face book and emails lately, and for good reason.  Our God truly is amazing. 
My theme verse for my music classes this fall has been Psalm 19:1, “The Heavens declare the Glory of God.”  We discussed what that means and what it would look like.  The 3rd graders came up with this:  A Tree brings God glory just by being himself; being what God made him to be.  I thought that was pretty good. 
Then this video crossed my computer screen from several different people this week and I couldn’t wait to show it to my students.  I heard whispers of, “Wow, that is so cool,” and, “How Beautiful.”  I had to agree.
Enjoy.  Oh, and be what God made you to be.
Question:  Did you see that black and white stripy fish thing?  Wasn’t that awesome?

A Lesson From My Teacher

Mrs. Sloan read IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKIE to our little cherubs the other day.  I love that book.  And obviously the publisher loved the popularity of the book as well, hence the additions of IF YOU GIVE A PIG A PANCAKE and IF YOU GIVE A MOOSE A MUFFIN.  I think the sequels are rather redundant and not quite up to par with the original so, for this blog’s purposes, I’ll stick with the little mouse guy.
If you’re not familiar with this classic allow me to lay it out for you.  The scene opens with a little girl giving a mouse a cookie which leads to him needing a glass of milk.  That plot line alone should tell you you’re in for an action packed thriller.  Anyway, one thing leads to another until finally, after an art project and a nap, the little guy is ready for another glass of milk.  And chances are, if you give him a glass of milk, he’s going to want a cookie to go with it.
I’ve adopted this methodology in my own life.  You see:
When I make my bed every day I notice the rest of my house (life) looks better too.  When I come home from work and my bed is made I hang up my clothes instead of just plopping them on the chair.  That makes my room all nice and tidy.  So if my room is organized I wash the dishes after dinner instead of just leaving them in the sink.  And if my kitchen is all sparkly fresh I want the bathroom to shine as well.  It’s kind of like an IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKIE style of housecleaning.
So see, everything you need to know you DO learn in Kindergarten (or Pre-K).
The idea of making my bed every day came from Dr. June Breninger.  Dr. June passed away this month.  She was a great teacher and example of Godly living to me and all the thousands of people who crossed her path. She will be greatly missed.
Question:  What are some simple life lessons you have learned along the way?

Jesus in my Classroom

Our first grade teacher came into the Pre-K room this morning and gave me and Mrs. Sloan this picture.
I looked at it for a few seconds, hoping Jesus had been a good boy in class yesterday and that He hadn’t received a time out from me or anything like that.  It wouldn’t bode well for me to have sat our Savior in the corner.
Even though my first thought of this picture was that it was a wee bit corny, mid-way through our coloring of the letter “B” (B, B, B, B is for bear) I noticed Jesus sitting in one of the tiny, little yellow chairs.  I felt the need to apologize to him for hurrying the child sitting at His table.  “Sorry, Jesus,” I said.  And I wasn’t being silly.  I was serious. 
I kept seeing Him all morning long.  He sat in another little yellow chair next to me while I was painting with the kids.  He laughed at me as I sat squished into one of those blasted chairs (that seem to be getting lower and lower every year) as I tried keeping the paint schmutz off of me.  Even though I have a really cool apron now I still get Pre-K schmutz on me.  He reminded me they were having a great time creating, learning and experiencing yellow, brown and orange (three colors that did not match my outfit) and to lighten up already. 
I’m going to keep a copy of that picture with me in the classroom and picture Him sitting in the front row.  Not as that “All Seeing Eye Watching You,” but as a gentle reminder of how much He loves these little ones under my care.

The Sing Off

Okay, this whole not having a TV thing just got really tough:  The Sing Off premieres tonight.  I LOVED, and may I say LOVED again, that show last fall.  It is A Cappella singing at its best.  And may I also say, Street Corner Symphony was robbed, I say ROBBED, of the prize last season.  Well, Committed, the winners, were fabulous as well, but I loved me my Street Corner Symphony I did.  If you have no idea what I’m talking about, and what in the world A Cappella singing is, tune in to NBC tonight at 8:00. 
And if anyone with a TV, preferably one of those big flat screen HD ones, wants to invite me over to watch that would be great.  I promise to keep my critiques to myself.  Well, I promise to TRY to keep my critiques to myself.  I am a music teacher and former A Cappella CofC girl after all.
Question:  Gonna watch, are ya huh???

Who is in Your Flock?

John 10: 1-5   “I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. 3 The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”
My other “hat” at school this year, in addition to my music teaching gig, is being an aide in the a.m. Pre-Kindergarten class.  Now, having been a teacher for many years I can honestly say that 4 year -old children are my least favorite age to teach.  My favorite would be 3rd or 4th graders.  They are old enough to know how to do things but young enough to not give you attitude because they know how to do things.
Students in Pre-K can hardly walk without falling over let alone walk in a straight line down the hall without crashing in to at least 5 or 6 other children in the process.  I keep telling the head teacher, Mrs. Sloan, it’s a good thing they are cute because if one more of them makes a break from the middle to the head of the line I’m gonna freak-out. 
We have two preciously adorable Asian girls in our class.  One speaks virtually no English and the other has enough vocabulary to get by.  She knows things like, “No.”  She is really good with that word.  Their mothers are the epitome of Asian beauty: flawless complexion and petite little bodies.  I hate them.  They are very soft spoken and watching their little daughters you would think they would be as well.  But, not to stereotype, there has got to be an elderly grandmother living with them.  The little girls will be working quietly, then turn their head towards us and holler out, full force, “TEACHA.  TEACHA.”  “My name is Miss Dana, may I help you with something.”   “TEACHA.  TEACHA.”  “Yes, we’ve established I’m your teacher, Miss Dana, what do you need?”  “TEACHA.  TEACHA.”  This goes on all morning.
On the fourth day of school we discovered one little boy REALLY wants to finish his projects.  It doesn’t matter if it is time to clean up or not, he REALLY, REALLY wants to finish what he was doing.  Or, as he very emphatically told me, over and over, “I.  Want. To.  Fini.  Shit.”  It was all I could do to keep from using my own expletives back at him, but since I’m a professional I refrained.  Not to mention it is a Christian school.
Another little girl was saying good-bye to her friend at pick up time but her friend didn’t see her open-hug-expectant-arms.  Her bottom lip began to quiver at the over-sight so I ran over and offered her a hug.  She looked up at me and smiled and I asked her if she knew my name.  “It’s Mrs. Sloan.”  I said, “No that’s the other teacher.  I’m Miss Dana.”  Her mom laughed and said her daughter had told her that her two teachers were Mrs. Sloan and Mrs. Slawn.  She was glad to clear up the confusion.
Well, my students may not know my name but they do know my voice.  The gospel of John says:  He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.  When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. I keep that verse in my head every morning.  When they look back at their Pre-K experience, I don’t care if they remember my name, but I do hope they remember my voice.  A voice that spoke kind words of love over them daily.  A voice that encouraged them to keep trying and do their best even if the task is difficult.  I want them to remember someone who thought they were the greatest kid ever even in the midst of being corrected.
Isaiah 40 says:   Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.
Not one of them is missing.  I may not have children of my own, but God has entrusted me with these 16 kids this year.  Mrs. Sloan and Miss Dana will treat His creations with care…even if it kills us!!

Call 911

I don’t know how the emergency system of calling 911 came about or who created it, but it is a pretty cool system.  Call that number and police, fire trucks or an ambulance will come blaring down the street to your rescue.  With nifty tracking systems they can find your location even if you can’t speak to give your address or tell them what’s wrong.

Yesterday at church, on the 10th anniversary of September 11th, our pastor shared another way of calling 911.
Psalm 91:1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
Cool.
Sometimes I choose to dwell in that shelter and sometimes I don’t.  It makes more sense to rest there though.  I know that.  But even when I’ve wondered off alone and don’t know where I am, I can call out His name like a 911 call.  He knows where I am even if I can’t speak or tell Him what is wrong.  He knows.
Prayers to our nation and to all who lost loved ones on 911.