Tag Archives: true story

Save a horse, ride a hound dog.

Please join me at my new web home JessieGunderson.com and don’t forget to like the Blog Schmog Facebook community HERE.

I had hoped to report to you that wrestling a Coonhound that is twice your size does- in fact- induce labor but it has been nearly 16 hrs since the event and I’m still with child. Or at least I was when I wrote this post. None-the-less, you might enjoy my adventure.

Why, might I ask, do these things ALWAYS happen when I’m very pregnant?

Here she is, “hiding” before her home surgery. Poor girl, really thinks I can’t see her. Insert the dopiest voice you can conjure up, “If I don’t look du’ humans in the eye they’ll never find me.”

I spotted her limping and discovered a small bone or quill stuck out from the pad of one of her toes. I grabbed a pair of tweezers and two strapping–er’ I mean scrawny little boys–to help me. I had Scarfunkle and Captain Obvious each hold a leg while I sat on the third leg (10 mo pregnant, mind you) and grasped the offending foot.

One little tweeze and that big ol’ hound was bucking and twisting. She sent Captain flying one direction and Scarfunkle plopped down the other, while I hung on for dear life. “Just…let…me…HOLD STILL WILLAMINA!” Then, just like those strange water wiggler toys grandma had at her house when I was a kid, that loose skinned hound slipped out from under me and I too took a ride. The three of us lay on the floor and Willamina hurried back to her “hiding” place. After several attempts we realized weren’t going to be able to do a darn thing so I sent her back out to wait for Matt. I hoped the snow would numb it some and keep any swelling down.

Of course I forgot all about it until we’d loaded the kids in the car to head to evening church. Matt went to put the dogs in their kennel and suddenly my memory jarred. Oops! Upon inspection we knew it couldn’t wait. The swelling had begun and the foreign object was now flush with the pad of her foot.

Hubby got the needle nose pliers. I got the scissors and tweezers. Scarfunkle grabbed a bag of ice and Captain Obvious tried to subdue the other restless Thinglets buckled in their car seats.

Surgery began and oh boy did she protest.

We sent Scarfunkle out to the car with a message, “Pray boys, pray!”

Let me tell you, there ain’t no more offensive odor than a stressed out hound dog! She excreted her stench and whimpered when Matt sat on her head. One hundred sixty + lbs of dog is something to be reckoned with especially one as wimpy as she is! She wanted nothing to do with our toe saving adventure and she let us know it. I sat on the rear half of her while Matt restrained the front half and I went to work.

Ten minutes on ice gave me just barely enough numb to cut around the thorn or bone or whatever it was. The prayers of three little boys were answered when in one tug I was able to get the darn thing out. It was a good inch long and stuck straight in. Poor girl!

Poor us!

We needed a bath. No time for that. I feel sorry for the people who sat next to us in church. Even a change of clothes and three or four hand washings couldn’t eliminate the stench she let off. Gotta love a hound dog!

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Filed under Farm Friends, Random, Reality, Ruse, True Tales

The doctor served me lemonade.

The doctor, my neighbor and friend who’se been trapped inside his own body over a year now, spoke volumes to me yesterday when I visited. Reading to him weekly has been my custom since the day of God’s harebrained plan about reading. If you’ve missed the two posts explaining what has happened so far be sure to read up.  The link takes you to the first post and from there you can read the second.

I showed up a little late after wolfing down my dinner. Every day I’ve visited before I have relied on my chatty nature to get us through the evening. Jane takes her daughter to youth group while the Doctor watches me talk and eventually read. Many times he tires, whether from my droning 🙂 or the mental taxation of keeping active when everything you once knew is so unattainable.

The extent of his movement has been one uncooperative arm and occasionally fidgeting of his feet. He rarely has moved his head though he can when being deliberate. I’ve received one goulish smile and during the first ever visit he attempted to whisper “Hi”.

Setting down my bag I walked over to the 60yr old Doctor’s wheelchair to say hello. It shocked me when he began to talk. Labored and extremely quiet, but talking none the less!  I shook my head and laughed. “You’re talking! Just a minute let me get my jacket off.”

I had to lean in close to hear what he was saying but the short conversation that ensued left me baffled, feeling blessed and encouraged.  “How are you?” He smiled broad and beconed me closer.

“I’m great. You don’t know how excited I am to hear you talk! I’ve been praying for you.”

He shook his head yes and smiled again. I couldn’t help myself, my heart bubbled over, elated and a little scared. I leaned in and gave him a huge hug! He wrapped both arms around me and hugged me back!

I pulled back and looked into his eyes now sparkling with new life. “You look great. Is this hard for you to talk. What I mean is, is it physically taxing?”

Shaking his head vigorously yes he scrunched up his face as if to protest the work! He made a FACE! Do you know how huge this is? The man had a massive stroke over a ago. Doctors say that after a year a person’s progress is pretty much stunted and yet each time I visit, he gets better and better.

I never read to him last night instead we visited. Sometimes pointing, sometimes with whispered words from him and a waterfall of words from me. Sometimes he made faces that explained his meaning. At one point while talking about the difficulties of breaking through the barrier that the mind imposes on him he mouthed to me, “We all need to slow down.”

In other words, life it so short. This is a man who had everything the world could ask for… success, financial stability, a beautiful family. One moment in the middle of the night took it all away and he was forced to slow down. Yet, he says “We all need to slow down.”

Forced into his situation I have a hard time believing I would have that perspective. I fear I would beg God to let me die and become bitter with time. Please Lord, let it not be so!

My Bible Study this morning reiterated that message with this passage…

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough touble of its own” Matt. 6:33-34

I am witnessing a miracle!

God, change my perspective as I seek to let go of my tomorrow’s.

How will you slow down?

This post is featured at Blog Schmog’s Fuget ABout it Carnival. Read how others make lemonade out of lemons HERE!

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Filed under FAB Friday Carnval, Random, Reality, Ruse, True Tales

I’m a Reading Rainbow

I did finally get to read to my neighbor.  It was terrifying and exhilarating at the same time.

My friend whom I met with in regard to God’s harebrained plan about reading to her husband the doctor, was glad to see me and optimistic about our arrangement.  Unfortunately her husband had fallen asleep and she was not able to readily wake him so instead of introducing us she left me with her eleven year old daughter while taking her other kids to youth group.

Waiting made my anxiety worse.  My husband had asked earlier in the day if I was nervous and at that time I was not, even when I showed up I was not but sitting there I began to entertain my reservations.

What will he think of this crazy plan?  Will he think I intend to evangelize him without compassion.  I bet he is wondering if whatever I have planned will allow him yet another chance to sleep or let his thoughts wander.

I chatted with my heart in my throat, nervous about what to do if he woke.  At last we heard him coughing in the other room and that darling little girl got up and ran into his room exclaiming, “Good morning, sleeping beauty!”

It was actually six at night!

“Do you wanna meet a new friend?” she exclaimed and beckoned with her hand for me to enter.

Thank you Lord! 

I had been so nervous about how to approach him and yet this lovely little girl had taking away all tension with her plucky introduction.

Lord, help me not to talk down to him, help my conversation to be comfortable and respectful.  Lord give me the right words so that I don’t pity him but that your love shows through me and your hope is evident without my having to preach at him.  Jane and I want so badly for him to learn to trust you, help me to understand your timing.

She left us alone and I sat beside his bed and began to explain why I had chosen the book that I did.  Despite the fact that God clearly directed me to read House, by Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti, I had many other reasons for agreeing with Him and I shared those. 🙂

As I spoke I took in a couple quick glances at the pictures above the bed, they were of healthier times for the doctor and I was shocked at the stark difference.  Though he had thick cotton white hair even then, it was silky and bright .  Now his hair was a coarse gray mat against his head.  He had been a big man with a broad inviting smile.  Now, emaciated and limp, his smile ghoulish, his head appearing too large on his skeleton frame.  My heart ached.

I opened my book and read stopping now and again to take a sip of water and allow him to cough.

We finished one chapter and I paused to talk a little about myself.  I told him briefly about each of my kids and that I felt blessed to know his family.  His daughter came in to check on us and I took another drink of my water while conversing with her.

I read another chapter and twice I made major mistakes that sent us both into laughter.  His eyes sparkled and he tried to laugh but it caused a coughing fit.  I winced at the pain it seemed to cause him as he gagged and sputtered.  I could not believe that I was sitting there, next to a man who was so incapacitated and yet the Lord was allowing us to fellowship.  I was not disturbed by the monitors and wheelchair.  My mind was filled with compassion and my heart longed only for him to know my Jesus and accept the promise of complete healing whether on earth or in heaven.

I read a total of three chapters and in the third had another laugh fumbling around with my voice attempting to recreate a “booming” male voice.

Though I had seen the sparkle in his eye and thought I made him laugh it was hard to be sure how he was taking it until his daughter ran to her mother the minute she arrived and exclaimed “He was so into it, I haven’t seen him that alert!”

My reservations were wiped away and the Lord graciously confirmed that His thoughts are completely different from ours…and His ways are far beyond anything we can imagine.

I read again soon and will be sure to keep you updated.

“My thoughts are completely different from yours,” says the Lord.  “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.  For just as the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your way and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”

“The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth.  They cause the grain to grow producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry.  It is the same with my word.  I send it out and it always produces fruit.  It will accomplish all I want it to and it will prosper everywhere I send it.  You will live in joy and peace.  The mountains and hills will burst into song, and the trees of the field will clap their hands!  Where once briers grew, myrtles will sprout up.  This miracle will bring great honor to the Lord’s name; it will be an everlasting sign of his power and love.”

Isaiah 55:8-13

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Filed under Faith First, True Tales

The Doctor’s Doctor

It wasn’t even Sunday and I got that feeling in my stomach that happens when you know you are supposed to go up during the altar call.  The very same butterflies that urge you to speak out on something important.  The unrest that does not settle until you take action.  I’m sure you’ve felt the same feeling in one situation or another.  But this was the middle of the week.  No pastor preaching, nobody challenging my ideals just me driving my car down the road in peace and quiet!  Maybe that was the trouble, I’m usually unable to think, let alone pray with my Thinglets poking each other and Pee Wee squealing along with them, my radio blaring to try to drowned out the noise.

I knew what it meant. We have a new neighbor in the valley whose house I pass each time I go to town.  The  family had moved into the single level home six months after the man of the house had suffered a major frontal lobe stroke that put him in a nursing home and made it unable for him to return to their multi level house only a few miles away.

Matt and I had stopped by one day and offered our assistance when we saw them moving in.  Jane told us the whole story about her husbands stroke and how he was unable to return home to her and the kids until they moved into a house that was better suited to a wheelchair.

When we left I couldn’t stop thinking about how I could serve them better.  What could I do to help out? 

Drop off a meal?  Ugh!  No offense to any kind soul who serves meals in love but I always cringe at the Christian cliche, “Just serve them a meal!”  Although this common practice is how I was introduced to one of my favorite meals to date (so I had better not frown too obviously) it’s just not my cup of soup.

I could babysit the kids but anyone who knows me IRL knows that I am not the gal for that job! While I love my kids and have an absolute blast with each and every one of them I’m not the little kid type. Please send me all your teenagers but not your babies!  Only one of Jane’s children would fit my category so I didn’t think that would be my job either.

“How then Lord, how can I help?”

Have you ever asked a question and promptly found you regret the resulting answer?

I did get a clear answer.  Not in the form of actual words but a vivid and real epiphany complete with the thought process behind it, none of which I came up with on my own.

For months the Lord has been preparing me to stop and present His harebrained plan of which I am supposed to happily facilitate.  I’ve prayed many times since then, ” let me know when it is time Lord,”   and yet even when he made it distinctly evident, I didn’t want to go through with it.

***************

Imagine an intelligent and mature man who had spent a lifetime pursuing a successful career as a doctor, a family practitioner.  He has a beautiful wife many years younger than himself, loving and devoted to him, his three darling children and his time consuming  job and passion.  They live in a grand custom home on a private lake and lead a life of ease.  The family entertains many friends and attends church every holiday.  They are the ideal American family.

Now imagine you are that man and one night after you lay your head to rest you awake to the bright lights of the ER.   The smells and sounds as familiar as your  jobplace. 

Wait… you can not turn your head, you can’t sit up and reach over to turn off the monitor beeping in your ear.  Your heart begins to race, your eyes dart from the lights on the ceiling to the IV in your hand.  The blue coats rushing around are not your nurses, but you’ve seen them before while attending surgery at the local hospital.  Why can’t you speak?  You want to ask “Why am I laying here?”

***************

I thought about these things and I imagined myself in Dr. Smith’s position.  I feared the inability to move myself, to express myself, to learn.  When I climbed into his shoes I was terrified and lonely.

It’s been a year since his stroke but mobility has not returned, speech continues to allude him.  People come to the new house to wish him speedy recovery but most of them don’t know what to say, they talk to him like a child.  He can’t lift his hand to shake theirs, he can not assure them he is still as sharp as ever in thought.  He can only sit alone with his  thoughts hoping to either get well or die.

If I were in his shoes I can only imagine the struggle I would have pondering the apparent either/or.

Armed with compassion I would not have mustered on my own and the harebrained plan that made me blush each time I explained it to those who were praying, I drove up the driveway to the new house and parked reluctantly at the barn.

I was really hoping this was another practice run since I’d parked there once before (another time when the butterflies made me do it) only to find that Jane was not home.    This time she slipped out the back door almost immediately and strode confidently toward my Suburban.  A lump formed in my throat.  I conjured up a front for my visit and began to converse about our kids, 4-H, the Mariners (not really) until finally the swirling, fluttering, shaky feeling could no longer be ignored.

“Jane, uh er, I uh…,” I took a deep breath then spit it all out, “the real reason for my visit is to see if your husband would like if I was to read to him on a regular basis.” 

I didn’t look for her reaction before I continued, “I have a book in mind that I have not read yet, it’s a supernatural thriller that honestly sounds a little scary.”

Then I took another breath and tried to blur the next sentence into an unrecognizable muddle, “It has a faith based component, so I believe it ends well.”

To my surprise my lovely neighbor whom I barely know anything about latched onto the whole idea like I was sent by God to help ease her burden.  Imagine that! 😉

Before blurting out the whole plan I had thoroughly convinced myself of the stupidity of reading to an intelligent man, like I was Mr Rogers.  The Lord told me clearly to read  to a scholarly doctor who despite his medical condition I was convinced  could certainly read on his own.

After I had settled my fluttering friends, I confided in Jane as to how stupid I felt for even suggesting the idea.  The only read aloud forums I would let myself imagine were juvenile gatherings; the library story hour, Saturday nights as a kid listing to my dad read “Little House on the Prairie” and visions of my own children nestled around reading “The Indian in the Cupboard.”  What in the world would a full grown man think of me READING to him.  “I’m sure he can read on his own, maybe he would prefer to borrow my book!”  I explained.

“Oh, no,” Jane grew solemn “He would not be able to hold the book.”

The stroke had been severe enough that even a year later the doctor is still unable to sit fully on his own or steady his hands for anything other than a squeeze or a meager wave.  His speech is nearly non existent and if he stands at all it is only with the help of a strong adult.  Most of the time she said he doesn’t even lift his head to watch the TV.  “He just listens,” she assumed aloud.

At the mention of faith (a word I had used hoping to avoid the subject of Jesus all together) a whole new conversation emerged and I spent the next hour sharing a spiritual connection with Jane.  I learned that she is a believer herself and concerned about her husbands salvation.  Before the stroke, he had been successful and preoccupied, not the one to persue Christian gatherings but never in the way of her endeavor to educate the children on “religious” matters.  She told me about how more and more people have been pursuing him and telling him that Christ wants to be a part of his life.

She told me, with an embarrased but mischievous glint in her eye that she had been reading her Bible to him and dragging him out to church every Sunday. 

As she described it, they had recently had a discussion where she told him that he needed to give his burdens to the Lord and allow Christ into his life.  Things that day had been really bad, he was weak and unhelpful when she tried to get him up, she had struggled to lift while he resisted and in the end he had fallen.  She knew that her prayers could only go so far since the Lord will not make a person believe so she urged him to pray and ask God for assistance.  The next day his strength was back and his face a little less ashen.  

The Lord hears and the doctor is beginning to ask!

There was an urgency in Jane’s mind in regard to her husband knowing the Lord’s healing.  We talked about the possibility of the Great Physician bringing total healing and she insisted it won’t happen until Dr. Smith allows it.

I invited them to a bible study at our house and she said they would be sure to come.

Through obedience to the Lord, I have made a new friend, been given a new prayer, and am a participant in the healing process of the doctor in heart and health!  I am confident this won’t be the end of the story.

Click here to read what happened next.

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Filed under Faith First, True Tales