Monday, April 16, 2007

Have you ever wondered why the neighbors never seem to hear their dogs who are waking you up with their barking? Yesterday they barked early and non-stop until it was time for normal folks to be awake. I confess that I, a dog lover, had evil thoughts about those dogs! It's not that I don't like to BE up early, it's that I don't like to GET UP. How I am awakened affects my whole day. My mother used to say that if God handed out jobs in heaven she certainly hoped her job would not be to awaken people. Perhaps my distaste for annoying wakeups comes from one of her favorite tactics. She was a nurse and often worked the night shift so I would have to get myself up in time to practice the piano, dress and have breakfast before going to school. In those days not many radio stations were on all night so she would set the radio on a station due to come on between 5:30 and 6:00 a.m., turn the volume up to his highest and I would be awakened by "The Star Spangled Banner" BLARING through the house as the station signed on for the day. It's a wonder I can still listen to that song. If Tom's nature were like mine, he'd be out of sorts a lot of days. His sleep--or lack of it--used to be one of our biggest complaints. Then, it got better. Within the last few days it has been troublesome again--"Dr. Margaret" thinks it's medication.

Both Tom and I have said for a long time that we believed that when his medications were regulated or when the exact amounts and/or combinations were found for his symptoms, things would stabilize and be more tolerable. Experience, reading and hearing from friends who have also had Parkinson's affect a loved one have now convinced me that pretty constant changes in medication are the norm. It's frustrating! If you take too much, that's bad and if you take too little, that's bad too. It seems to be an impossible situation!

Early rising has its advantages. I can concentrate on reading the Bible, meditating on it and other books I'm reading, writing in my journal and just being with God. Late last week I read this statement about Nehemiah in Oswald Sander's book, Spiritual Leadership,: "He built up their (the Israelites) faith by redirecting focus away from 'the impossible' toward the greatness of God." Then Sanders adds: "Faith builds faith. Pessimism dismantles faith." Those are sobering words. In what affects my health and in the wilderness areas of my life, I know they are not about me and what I do, but about the faithfulness of God. Maybe that got lost in the move. Sander's words caused an "aha moment." My faith in God and His goodness comes when I quit focusing on the impossibilities of Parkinson's and dedirect that focus toward the greatness of God. My pessimism brought about by the changes in Tom and the futility of the desease eats away at my faith. It's not that I don't believe--it's that I resign myself to the medical facts. They cannot be disregarded, but there has to be a balance between those facts and the greatness, the faithfulness of God. Therein lies our hope.

Life is a matter of focus. Today I will not focus on impossibilities, but on God who alone is great and faithful.

Grace and Peace,
Pastor Margaret


Ron Jones said...

Dear Margaret & Tom,

Chris Larsen alerted us to your Blogspot~~~what a delight to hear of your progress!! BOTH of YOU!!

Your name comes up frequently at FOPC.........mostly good :-) CORRECTION..........CROSS OUT THAT LAST, for you two are universally remembered for the Kind, loving, effective service you both rendered during your stay with us!!

Having re-discovered your Blog, I have started one for our ROMANIAN short term TEFL trip this summer. You can keep up with us also if you like by going to HTTP://

We pray for you as the Lord lays you all (yuall) on our hearts, and RIGHT NOW (11:05am on 4/16) is one of them!!..........Blessings on you both, Good Friends........Ron Jones

Anonymous said...

Margaret and Tom,
Greetings and warm wishes for both of you to have continued positive health. We are busy raising a one-year-old. It has been a great experience. I truely feel that one should wait until they are older to have children. I think (hope) that I am more relaxed and ready for all of the new and exciting experiences as seen through the eyes of a toddler. I have rediscovered so many things that I thought I had left behind, like: blocks, mini-dumptrucks, stuffed bears, and soft, blue blankets. I also love the quiet times when we sit and cuddle. My favorite times are when he calls out "Ma Ma" and how his eyes light up when I respond. When I figure out how to e-mail pictures, I will send you one so that you can see the growing boy. We love you and are so appriciative or you: you married us and baptized our son. How wonderful both of you are to us.
Liz, John and Zeke