It's been quite an interesting couple of weeks in Blogland. We've visited each other's Christmas memories, traditions, decorations, recipes. It has been fun. It has also been a challenge to fit it all in with all of the other things we're supposed to be doing! I find myself spending far too much time in front of this screen, but it has become an extension of myself to visit with all of you.
I took the week off from work last week, somewhat in response to all of the wonderful advice I got from you when I was so panic-stricken a couple of weeks ago. I have so much time built up that it is ridiculous, but there is never a good time to take it. This time, good or bad, I did it. I didn't get a babysitter on my Grandma Dawn days, but had the other half of the week totally to myself. It was refreshing, and exhausting at the same time. I baked, which I haven't done much since I began working full time. We realized we have been very remiss in having friends over just to fellowship. I realized I decorate my house and never share it with anyone but family. So we've been having company after church on Sunday nights and just visiting, as we used to do when life wasn't so complicated. It's been fun.
I also shopped. I am not a shopper. I detest Christmas shopping on Saturday, after work, or with kids in tow. So that left me - taking vacation days to shop. It was wonderful - people at Wal-Mart and Sam's were begging me to come to their stands to check out. What a difference from the horror stories I've been hearing.
I did get a bit of wrapping done the other night. I love to wrap when I have time, and this year it was fun. But it wasn't fun yesterday morning when Care Bear came for the day and immediately wanted to start opening presents. I had a really rough time explaining to her that we have to wait 9 more days! She's very, very bright, but this concept just escapes her very logical brain. I think I should have kept the packages in the basement for another week!
Thursday evening at 5:00, after a very productive day, I began to feel a soreness in my throat. There's lots of junk going around here, but I've escaped. All of a sudden, and I mean just in an instant with no warning, I had trouble swallowing. Oh, no. The dreaded cold - or more likely sinus infection. Yesterday was tough with the kiddoes, because I really didn't feel well at all. I have had two really awful nights. There's a good news/bad news scenario here. I have a huge deductible on my insurance. I rarely go to the doctor, so I chose this less costly plan. The bone scan was covered because it was preventive. The colonoscopy would have been covered if no polyps were found - you know the outcome of that if you read me regularly. Yesterday I got the EOB and found out that , yup, my deductible has now been met (our year is June - May), so the good news is, now I COULD go to the doctor for this thing if I decide to without it costing the full price. The bad news is I have to come up with that unbelievable amount of money. Oh, the woes of insurance - don't EVEN get me started on that subject! I'd better quit now.
Oh, - also, I discovered a ganglion cyst (self diagnosed, but pretty much confirmed by Google), on my left wrist. Doesn't hurt, aches a little bit, really ugly! Yuck!
On to a happier subject! You've probably been wondering where "Purple Shoes" fits into today's topic. I am going to enlighten you.
It goes a ways back, as most of my stories do. There's a woman, to be named RS for purposes of this episode. We actually were in college together, but did not become well acquainted. Years later, she and her husband moved here and became part of our church, as did most of her other family members. We became close friends, raising children the same ages. She had numerous back surgeries over the years, and we young moms attempted to help her as much as we could. Stuff happened and she and her family went to a different church. We parted on less than good terms. It was very sad. She had more surgeries in the interim.
We were together at ladies' retreats and mission retreats, but never really connected - very surface "hellos" but no conversation. But one year, at laymen's retreat, God came and mended our relationship. We cried and hugged and it was so good!
Fast forward to a few years ago when she and her husband returned, children all grown and gone. Ours, too, and we had been through many struggles. We began to share organ duties, which was wonderful for me, and we sing in choir together. We even have a mixed quartet - my husband, her husband, RS, and me. It's fun.
I'm getting to the shoes, don't worry. I've always admired RS's taste in shoes, and the quality that is obvious in her choices. I have lots of trouble with my feet and I would think to myself as I sat next to her in choir, "I think I could probably wear those shoes without pain." I would ask her where she got them. She'd bring me the catalogs. But I never could quite afford to order them.
Recently RS has been experiencing really severe pain and numbness in her right foot (the organ volume pedal foot), and up her leg. I didn't realize how much pain, because she is very quiet about her agony. But we began talking one night and I learned that she could not wear her beautiful shoes any more, because her foot tipped too easily. She now has to wear very supportive, orthopedic type shoes - far from the beautiful ones she has always worn. Sad. Since we both have large, Jackie Kennedy sized feet (well, not quite her size 11 - really, she did wear size 11), I offered to buy some of her shoes from her.
One Sunday morning soon after that conversation, she told me to come to her car after church - she blessed me with NINE new pairs of shoes - or new enough to count, and totally new to me! Believe it or not, every one of them is wearable to my troubled toes.
I know this is getting far too long, but it is such a great story to me, and I hope you agree if you make it this far. Two of these pairs of shoes had been worn to her children's weddings - one silver and one a beautiful purple. It really hurt her heart to part with those shoes, I could tell.
As I mentioned above, I hate shopping. I love to peruse catalogs, dog-ear pages, come back and look again, and finally decide what I will order. I had been looking at a particular outfit for quite a while. Believe it or not (coincidence or God's providence?) one of the choices was purple. I know, I know, it's taking a chance that the color in the catalog is true. But I have this natural color memory, and I just knew it was going to match.
When I wore the outfit to church last Sunday, I thought RS was going to hug the stuffing right out of me. She was so excited! It blessed her as much as it did me - to know that someone she loved and cared about was going to be able to use the shoes that had so much sentiment attached to them. I don't think that's materialistic - I think it awesome! God cares about us in such amazing little ways. He is so good!
Now - believe it or not, yesterday I found a good sale at Kohl's on something I can wear with the silver ones for Christmas Eve Sunday services. She's going to be so excited! I can hardly wait.