Nice

I have a confession to make. I am not a nice person. If you currently or have ever lived with me, than you know this to be true. I can be cruel and unsympathetic at times. I can be snarky and jealous and haughty and judgmental and gluttonous and lazy. Not always, but at times. I sometimes succumb to white lies. (They don’t hurt anyone, right? Right???)

Now don’t get me wrong; I am a redeemed woman of God, forgiven by my baptism, my belief/faith in God, and by the fact that Christ’s blood covers my sin. (Thank you, Lord, for building my faith as I pray for more of it!)

Martin Luther once said, “Sin boldly.” At times I have bent his meaning to suit my needs. I believe he meant to live our lives and not walk in fear of condemnation. We will sin, and through confession God will forgive. Praise the Lord!  I, however, have taken that grace for granted. How bad can it really be? Hmm? It’s just a white lie. One more (or ten more) chocolate(s) won’t hurt. Forgive me, Lord, but she really is a nasty piece of work.

I am not a nice person, and yet God loves me unconditionally. I am so grateful!

I know some people who appear to be truly nice. They always speak highly of others. They do charity work. They brighten up a room just by walking into it. They just seem to care about everyone. I hope I can be like that someday. God is still working on me, and I am content for him to do so.

Today I pray that all is well with you, dear readers. If you have troubles, then I pray that God will walk with you through them. If all is well, then I pray that you take some time to thank him.

God is good all the time! Meet you at the Kingdom.

Donna

PS: Hi to my cousin Val. It’s so nice to be back in touch after all this time.

PPS: I still miss Becky, a truly good person. xxoo

PPSS: I’m wearing my Mickey Mouse shirt today. It has a shadow image of him, and inside the image the castle from Walt Disney World shows through. It makes me smile. 🙂

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Return to Writing

Hiya Dear Readers,

I have to write today, because I have to share a brilliant message that I read today on FaceBook. It is written by Laura (Carlson) Elliot. Laura is the daughter of two of my very favorite people ever. This piece so eloquently expresses reason in this chaotic and often frightening time. She writes today:

“Guys. The take a knee thing started a year ago. Trump is fanning the flame to be divisive, fire up the base, and distract from other issues. Don’t fall prey. Racial justice is important. Our national defense is important. Freedom of speech is important. So is affordable health care, tax reform, immigration reform, and the little matter of impulsive national figures vainly puffing their chests with nuclear weapons at their fingertips. Stick to the issues. Work toward compromise. Love your country. Love your neighbor. Honor our military. Stand for justice. Be mature. These things are NOT mutually exclusive.

Don’t fall prey.

And Christian, remember. Our ultimate citizenship is in heaven. People are hurting. People are dying. People need the gospel. Stick to the issues.”

Did I tell you? Brilliant! A true voice of reason in this crazy time. Something to aim for. Something to hope for. The voice of reason.

*sigh*

On a lighter note: I am 44.2 pounds down since my stroke. I am eating way more vegetables and way less sugar. And I feel much more energy…finally! I keep hoping that as my energy increases and the summer temperatures fall, I will be able to walk again. I would love to take a walk outside every day, but all in God’s good timing. I will be patient and wait for his direction.

Soon I will write more about our planned 2018 trip to Walt Disney World. Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.

That’s it for today. Love and happy thoughts are sent your way. Meet you at the Kingdom.

Donna

Victorious Day

Hello my friends,

I just had to drop a line to share a major victory with you. For the first time since May 12th, I drove the car! Whoop whoop! I only drove to the post office in town and back, but it felt so great. We left for England on May 13th, and because of my stroke, I haven’t driven since. I have some permanent damage to my vision (lower right quadrant). Because I had two stroke events, both eyes are effected. I don’t know what I’m not seeing, but as far as driving goes, the part that I’m not seeing would be the radio dials and the heat/cooling settings. I just have to have everything set before I start driving. Anyway, I’m a happy girl today.

Blessings to you all. Meet you at the Kingdom.

Donna

 

So Much Better

Hiya Dear Readers,

Just want to drop a note to let you know that I am feeling so much better. It’s been seven weeks since my stroke. I spent six nights in the hospital in England. Since I’ve been back in the USA I’ve seen my GP, had blood work done, am currently 24 days into wearing a heart monitor for 30 days, have done a sleep study, have had an echocardiogram and have attended two of three scheduled diabetes education classes. (I have one more class in two weeks.) I will see a neurologist in two weeks and a neuro-opthomologist in three weeks. (I have some residual vision issues.) Then I will breathe a sigh of relief and bask in having gotten through all of that. Whew!

Anyway… I can tell I’m feeling quite a bit better, because I’m back to making plans for our next trip to Walt Disney World. We’ve bumped up our dates from October 2018 to the end of September 2018. Jake, Eliza, Mike and I had such a wonderful time when we went in the fall of 2015, so we thought we’d try fall again. Historically the end of September is a bit less busy than October, so we’ll try that. We can still enjoy The EPCOT Food and Wine Festival and Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party while we’re there. The temperatures will be nice for some major pool time. I get so excited thinking about it! And then to have Emi, James and baby Ida there with us will be beyond anything that I can even imagine!

Disney World is so different from when we first started going there around 1990-ish. It’s almost too much for me now…almost. There are so many changes. Some favorite attractions have gone away to make room for new ones. There has been major construction of hotels adding many more rooms to the World. They built a whole new park, the Animal Kingdom. They have built another water park, Blizzard Beach. I miss the “intimacy” of the 1990’s World, but it doesn’t diminish my love for the new World.

My absolute favorite thing to do at Walt Disney World is to spend time with the family. I love hanging out at Disney’s Old Key West Resort at night and just chatting about our day. I love sitting at a great Walt Disney World restaurant (especially Olivia’s Cafe!) and sharing a meal with the fam. I love checking out the looks of awe and wonder on their faces while we watch fireworks at Magic Kingdom. I even love looking at their tired faces on the bus back to Old Key West.

I can call and make our reservation for a grand villa at Old Key West on October 23rd of this year. We already have our 5 day Park Hopper passes. I can make our breakfast/lunch/dinner reservations starting March 28, 2018. I can order our tickets for Mickey’s-Not-So-Scary Halloween Party in May of 2018. I can make our FastPass choices beginning July 26, 2018. Then it’s nothing but keep power walking to be ready to go.

I take nothing for granted. But Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, it will be a major Jarvi/Carmichael reunion and celebration. Just to be together with these people that I love in this place that I love is bliss!

I’ll write again soon.  Thanks for reading, Dear Friends! Meet you at the Kingdom!

Donna

 

A Stroke of Luck/Love!

Today is Monday, June 5.  I am in England waiting to be cleared to fly home. On May 13th Mike (my lovely hubby) and I flew to London. Our son-in-love James picked us up at Heathrow and whisked us quickly to Bristol where  James, Emi and our baby granddaughter Ida live. We’d been trying to schedule the journey for months, but now seemed like the perfect time. We would be with the kids for Ida’s first birthday. We were so excited and happy to spend some time with the Carmichael’s.

When we left Illinois, my allergies were kicking in. I brought along some Walitin (Walgreen’s version of Claritin), hopped on the plane and 7 1/2 hours later we landed in London. By the time we landed my cough was more marked, and I had a proper cold.

We were all coughing soon. Mike and all kept moving and functioning. I sat and tried to rest. I was ill for our entire 10 days with the kids. I wasn’t sleeping as I continued to cough through the night…through the days…through sweet Ida’s birthday party.

The morning came for us to leave for home. We were being picked up by a taxi at 3:00 am to catch our 6:30 am flight home. I was absolutely miserable: exhausted, so sick.

The alarm went off at 2:30 am. I woke Mike and started to get dressed. I was hot and sticky from the humidity. I managed to get my clothes on, but couldn’t get my socks on over my swollen feet. Mike was trying to put my socks on for me when suddenly my vision and speech started to slur. I found myself absolutely fascinated by the patterns of the living room wallpaper. Chevrons running up, up, up the wall at various speeds. Squares and blocks of shadowed patterns continually moving. It was so interesting to watch and yet so bizarre. (BTW: the living room walls are painted light gray. There is no wallpaper; there are no patterns on the wall.)

Mike had woken Emi. They would talk to me, but my answers were slurred. I was so distracted by the patterns on the wall. And I was so tired, I tried to answer their questions, but it was such hard work. I would begin to answer then stop because I was so distracted by what I was seeing.

The cab came to pick us up and Mike sent it away. Next there was a lovely paramedic in front of me. Asking me questions that I could answer, but it was such hard work.  Kinda like trying to talk and be understood underwater. Soon the ambulance arrived. Two more lovely paramedics, one man and one woman, (equal pay for women! Woo hoo) helped me to walk to the gurney in the hall because they couldn’t get the gurney into the small living room. One on each side, they were literally holding me up as with my strange visions I couldn’t tell up from down. Soon I was strapped to the gurney, in the ambulance and on my way to Southmead hospital. (The same hospital where Emi gave birth to Ida.) Mike came in the ambulance with me, but I couldn’t see him as I only saw black in the upper right quadrant of my vision, and that’s where he was sitting.

Initial diagnosis: pneumonia and a possible stroke.

I’ll continue this narrative soon. I’m tired now.

Just know, dear readers, God was with me every inch of the way. Ever present and allaying any fear. He is so good and so faithful and so completely loving. Thank you all who have been praying for me. I am lifted to heaven’s gate by your support. God bless your day! Meet you at the Kingdom…Magic Kingdom or otherwise.

Donna

Once Upon a Time

Today I sang at a friend’s funeral. This particular friend was a Lutheran pastor and then later he was a bishop. When he retired, he continued to work tirelessly where needed. His was truly a life well lived, and I know when he arrived in heaven, he heard the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” from the King of kings. This was the most joyous funeral that I’ve ever attended, a real celebration of a beloved man.  It was a privilege and an honor to be part of it.

Once upon a time there was a man named Ken who believed God and loved people…

We prepared 17 separate pieces of music for the service. By the time the service was over nearly two hours later, I was exhausted. So here’s what I decided to do. Mike had to go back to work, which is the nature of of his job quite often. We drove back to the farm so he could get stuck back in, and I went out to a quiet, relaxing lunch at one of our local faves The Full Moon.

Now I am rewatching the first season of Once Upon a Time on Netflix. I’ve seen the first two seasons before, but I’d lost touch with it recently. This show is so fun for me as an avid Disney fan. I am rather crazy for most things Disney. The story is captivating and the characters are so well written. Within the first three episodes, I was completely sucked in again.

Once upon a time there was a boy named Henry who believed a story…

Real life and fantasy. The mundane and the magical. Living in the moment and pure escapism. Life is a wonderful mix, isn’t it?

Meet you at the Kingdom.

Donna

 

Countdown to Ida

In less than two weeks, Mike and I will be in England with Emi and James and, oh be still my heart, little Ida. We have not been in the same room with them for seven months, half of Ida’s lifetime.

I know it’s not unusual to only see one’s grown children once or twice a year when they live a distance away. I have friends here in Chicagoland, who only get to visit with their son and his family living in California once a year. We only saw Jake once or twice a year when he lived in California. I understand that. I don’t feel sorry for myself that the distance is so great; I am just determined to enjoy every minute that we have together when we are together.

When our children were born, Mike and I dedicated them to God and asked that he would lead them and guide their steps. That he would use them to further his kingdom in whatever way he saw fit. It’s been interesting to watch that happen. It was quite amazing to see how independent they became. At one point Jake lived in West Hollywood, CA, and Emi lived in York, England. Both were pursuing dreams and taking on life with both fists. Both have benefited greatly from their experiences. God most certainly was with them each step of the way. When you live out there on the raggedy edge, your faith grows. You learn to rely on God, because sometimes he is literally your only option. Both to this day exhibit great faith.

Anyway…all of this to say, I am looking forward to some quality time with Emi, James and Ida. I pray that God will guide us and bless this journey and visit. There’s so much I want to remember to share with the baby:

  1. Mike’s family’s knee bouncy tune: “Ta tee, ta toolun tilloon, ta toolun tilloon, ta la la lay…”
  2. The song that my Finnish grandfather taught me when I was just a young girl: “I know three little sisters. I think you know them, too, for one is red, one is white and the other one is blue…”
  3. The magic trick my English mother taught me, “Two little dickey birds sitting on a hill, one named Jack and one named Jill…”
  4. One of my favorite children’s books, “There’s a Nightmare in My Cupboard.”

So much fun, so little time. 🙂 So, Dear Lord, please bless this journey, and help us to live each day to its fullest. Let us all cherish our time together, and when it comes time to return, let us all look forward to the next time we can visit. Thank you, Lord, because we know you go before us. In Christ’s name, Amen.

Peace out, Dear Readers, God bless your day.

Donna

Pilgrimage to better health to meet Mickey. A 14 month Quest.