I should have made a mental note when a few kids from my kids' Bible school class were out for sickness. When my youngest came downstairs later that week in a sweater on a 93º day, refusing to take off the heavy clothing, you would think I would have seen it. But I missed the onslaught of the flu in our house until it was upon us.
I hate when my kids are sick. And I feel terribly inadequate when my husband goes down. But I am always reminded that I have help. I never have to heal my family on my own. Here are a few things that helped us through this time.
1. Nice Weather - While the healthy in the house were dying to get out - and healthy children were encouraged to get out and play - the 70º temps were good for more than a pretty view. Keeping windows open not only gave me the mindset that germs were fleeing by the thousand, it was also great not to be stuck with the lingering odor of anti-bacterial gels and sprays.
2. Lysol - Despite the smell, more peace settled in my mind whenever those chemicals went to town, protecting the healthy from the germs. Not having to scrub down the bathroom several times a day was a blessing.
3. Airborne - And to support our immune systems, we loaded up with those essential vitamins. Peace of mind was needed to keep our household ready for an upcoming slumber party.
4. Summer - My little boy was so very proud of his perfect attendance award in school last year. Even burning with a fever, he tried to assure me he wasn't sick. (Ah yes, a man in training.) But when he could deny it no more, it was nice to know we didn't really have anywhere to be. Staying at home was no bother to any of us.
5. A Nearby Shopping Complex - And when it was necessary to get out of the house and actually go buy groceries, I only needed to go across the street, not even a mile. So when someone thought he would be more comfortable at home (near a familiar bathroom), I simply parked the shopping cart out of the way, and ran him home to his dad.
6. Target Bags - I keep one of these babies everywhere - in the car, in my purse, by the bed. They are sturdy enough to hold twenty pounds of cat litter without busting, so I am confident that whatever explodes from the mouth of a child (or adult) will stay in that bag.
7. Modern Medical Knowledge - "Mom, make it better" is a request I want to meet! But I know enough to keep away the fever reducer if the fever isn't above 101º. (It is best to let the fever burn away the virus). Also, knowledge such as keeping up the vitamin C and hydrating properly make me feel like I know what I'm doing for my child.
8. Forethought and Wisdom- Not mine, mind you, but God's. No one got sick in our house until the day AFTER Bible school was over. (A big deal, since I run Bible school at our church, and it is my busiest week of the year.) The amazing part about this is that we held VBS this year earlier than we have in the past. Thank you, God, for THAT timing!
9. A Giving Husband - Again, because I work for the church, I really can't miss a Sunday. My poor husband had to miss two weeks in a row to stay home with sick kids. Missing church is something neither of us like to do, so I was terribly appreciative once again for the man I married.
10. Quick Healing - The week (plus) lasted FOREVER. But all in all, it was a drop in the bucket compared to what many families have to deal with. How nice to pray to a God who listens to us!
I needed to write this list if, for no other reason, to remind myself of how God takes care of us even in our down times. May it also remind you of some of the uncovered blessings
Here's how the conversation in my home went the other day:
Daughter, H, age 10: Mom, I'm fat. I need to lose weight.
Me: You are too young to think about losing weight. You need to think about being healthy, not thin.
H: Look at this! (points to typical 10-year-old-looking belly)
Me: If you want to do something to be healthy, I welcome you to it.
H: Well, you exercise all the time. Don't you do it so you don't get fat?
Me: Well, no, not exactly.
Son, C, age 9: (now interested too in this conversation) So why do you do it, Mom?
Aren't you all asking the same question? This week, the outside temperature will not be below 90ºF, with heat indexes over 100º. And I will have put in close to 50 miles on the bike and shoes by Sunday. Crazy? Maybe, but here's the truth:
(And you may be surprised how much of my reasoning is mental instead of physical).
1.Cholesterol- Along with everyone else on my side of the family, I have been diagnosed with high cholesterol. My doctor explained to me which numbers correlated with food, exercise, and heredity, and it turns out the only part that is high is the hereditary part. Still, the fact that I need to be medicated for a heart-related condition has opened my eyes to my health. God gave me this temple and charged me with taking care of it. Exercise helps me think I'm doing the best I can.
2. Energy - I have exercised regularly since I was 12 years old, so I don't know exactly what it feels like when you don't. But I DO know that I feel like I can do anything that a 20-year-old can do. Almost.
3. Sleep- If you ever have trouble sleeping on a regular basis, push your body further than you think you can. (consistently.) There is rarely a night I don't fall into bed a happy camper with my body thanking me.
4. Gluttony - My favorite food is ice cream. I just can't help it. And I like the full-fat, good stuff. I even have a tee-shirt that says, "I run so I can eat ice cream." I also like cheesecake. But I don't count calories. I have no idea if I eat more than I exercise, but I need to have something to balance out my eating habits, so I don't have to deprive myself.
5. Hydration - I've never been good about drinking enough water. I like water, which I hear is not too common. But I just don't think of it enough. When I exercise, I KNOW I'm drinking, and I think about it a lot. Though exercise requires more daily fluid, at least I have a reason to remember it!
6. Music - Sometimes, I don't have any other opportunity to listen to my favorite music on my iPod than when I am running. I need quiet as much as I can get it during the rest of the day, but there are those times when I just need to belt out a good beat, even if it's through my shoes.
7. Escape - I do love my children. But there are moments when I need to get away. After directing all my thoughts to 4 different, simultaneous conversations, it's nice to have just one train of thought and let it wander anywhere it wants to go.
8. Writing - That uninterrupted train of thought often dropped me off at the station of "What if?" All of my novels were conceived in the miles of the River Trail.
9. Sanity - I am keenly aware of the hormones that keep me happy. And if I don't get my daily epinephorines, no one wants to be around me. Trust me.
10. Vanity - I hate that I have to put this on the list, but it's true. I feel badly about myself and the way I look when there's a few extra pounds around my middle. Okay. I said it. I like pretty dresses!
Notice that I list the reasons I exercise. You may exercise for other reasons, which is perfectly alright.
You'll also see that on this list, nowhere to be found is "I just love exercising!" Because I usually don't. Running is my main form of exercise, and I think only the truly sadistic and completely brain-washed enjoy running.
So, I still think Nike said it best.
Just Do It.
Today is the 4th of July - Independence Day here in America. I am sitting by the pool, really wishing to dive in and swim. I'm being held back by only one thing - the promise I made to my fans that I would contribute a blog post every day this week to thank them for their patience in waiting for my next book to come out.
Wah, wah, I can't go in the pool. How spoiled am I? Now would be great time to think about how life would have been different 10, 50, 100 or even 200 years ago.
And then count my blessings. Here goes:
1. Indoor Plumbing - Seriously, I am thankful for this every time the sewage plant fragrances tickle my nose. Just a no-brainer on every "I'm thankful" list.
2. Air Condition - I grew up in a house built so long ago, they had to add on a kitchen to it. My bedroom was on the 3rd floor of that house, and there were no electric outlets up there. So summer time was suffered with not even a fan to keep down the sweat at night. I'm making up for it now in the comfort of the central air in my house.
3. Chlorinated Water - I know many people may actually be offended by this and prefer the more natural water found in oceans, lakes, and ponds. But so do the lesser creatures. And their waste. If you see #1 above, you will note that I am not a fan of waste. Of any kind. Chlorine gives me the hope (blind as it may be) that I am not floating in someone else's... well, let's move on.
4. Music - The kids are home from school. All kids. I think they are all here at the pool today. More than one kid is crying (also thankful that the criers are not mine). But I am sitting by the sound system speaker. :) (Note: Yes, I know music has been around forever. But I am referring to the music loud enough and enjoyable enough to drown out the drone of a hundred kids.)
5. Computers and Wi-Fi - Being at the pool affords me the freedom of having my kids entertained and happy, but until recently, that would mean sitting around thinking about the work I have to do at home. Now, I do have myself trained to look up after every sentence I write to find my kids, and they must always swim with a buddy, so I don't feel like the worst mom of the year. But kids at peace always equals more work done! So getting it done at the pool is ideal.
6. Kindles - Since books have been around for quite some time, I had to be specific here to get something to fit on the list. Not only is this wonderful for me to read something, but for the many people who can now get my book more affordably! (Oh my, was that a shameless plug for my book, Amity of the Angelmen, available on this site or through Amazon? I guess it was. Whoops.)
7. Iced Coffee - When did they invent this stuff? Or realize that it was good on ice, anyway. I don't remember seeing it around when I was a kid. May I never sit by the pool without one nearby.
8. Weather.com - Planning the week is so much easier when you know the best days to stay inside and when to go out. Or how long you have to be outside before a chance of threatening weather.
9. Water Parks - Lazy Rivers and happy, occupied children. What more could you ask for?
10. Freezers - No freezer in the house, no ice cream in the house. Duh. Isn't ice cream the best thing in summer?
I had to edit out a few other blessings for the list, because I can only have 10- no more, no less. However, there is infinite room on my comment section for you to add your favorite summer blessing!
Happy summer to you all.
Because I love even numbers and lists!