Near the Cross

Near the Cross

Fanny Crosby

Jesus, keep me near the cross,
There a precious fountain
Free to all, a healing stream
Flows from Calvary’s mountain.

Refrain

In the cross, in the cross,
Be my glory ever;
Till my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.

Near the cross, a trembling soul,
Love and mercy found me;
There the bright and morning star
Sheds its beams around me.

Refrain

Near the cross! O Lamb of God,
Bring its scenes before me;
Help me walk from day to day,
With its shadows o’er me.

Refrain

Near the cross I’ll watch and wait
Hoping, trusting ever,
Till I reach the golden strand,
Just beyond the river.

Refrain

A Day at Home

I had so much work to do today—and I did get quite a lot of it done. There is still so much more, though.

Jasper walked to the new donut shop to buy breakfast this morning, only to find it closed. So I ended up driving him to a donut place as I didn’t have a plan B.

Lucy and Tanner went to Nacogdoches as Tanner was playing in a rugby game for the university. They won!

I did a lot of schoolwork and got the guest room ready for Lina. Lina arrived as I was getting started on making pizza for supper. This is Walter’s birthday weekend since his birthday is on Monday. I have a feeling he will be going to see the doctor on his birthday as his arm doesn’t seem to be improving.

The big entertainment of the evening was a video call with Flynn and Tiffany and Paisley. We hooked up the projector to my computer so we could watch every cute little expression on Paisley’s face on the big screen! Can’t wait to see that sweet baby in person . . .

My mother is still in the hospital, and from the reports I’m getting it looks like she is losing ground, although they are slowly lowering her fluid levels. This is a hard, hard time for us all. We appreciate your prayers.

Exposing My Ignorance

This being Friday, I found myself at Aldi this morning, watching a little girl torment her little brother who sat in the cart with her. I see this kind of thing quite often, and in most cases the mother does not react. I don’t know if she doesn’t notice or if she doesn’t care. Either way, I feel sorry for the defenseless little tot who’s being bullied. If the younger one cries or tries to ward off the attack, the really clever little bullies often manage to convince their parent that they are the injured party—and the victim is the one who gets in trouble.

Today was the final day that my beloved favorite bookstore was open. I couldn’t resist going back one last time. After all, I still had some store credit. I thought maybe it would be humming with activity, that others would be flocking there one last time. Instead, I found a small congenial group. Steve, the owner, and his wife Paige, whom I hadn’t seen in months, Paige’s sister Lee, and Pat, one of my fellow book club members.

Lee had brought cupcakes to mark the occasion, and although I couldn’t have one of course, I did join the party by drinking one of my infrequent cups of coffee. I browsed the store one last time, and found a book that Walter had mentioned wanting, a book for Jasper, and even one for myself. Mostly, though, we just talked. And that’s when I discovered a shocking gap in my knowledge. Paige mentioned to her sister that Pat is a landman. As Pat is a woman, I was more than a little confused. Then it was mentioned that Steve (an attorney) had also been a landman for many years.

I was completely mystified. Here was a profession that I had never heard of, yet everyone else clearly knew exactly what it was. I felt like an idiot for not knowing, but I asked anyway. Once again, I realized how on the “outside” I am when it comes to things that are normal for native Texans who grew up around the oil industry. I hate feeling ignorant!

Eventually I knew I needed to head home. Said my goodbyes, hugged Paige, and wondered when I’d see her again. She was the encouraging hostess of all those watercolor and art classes I attended there. I will miss that place so much. It had become a second home for me—a place with even more books than my actual home, comfy chairs, and always congenial conversation. If I had money, I’d buy it and keep it open . . . but instead I’ll just quietly mourn its passing.

Goodbye . . .

A Spot of Tea

At long last today we reached the Western edge of Europe in Geography class, which meant that one of the places we covered was the British Isles, so for our meal we had a rather sumptuous tea. My student chef brought gluten-free scones and meringues, and I spent the morning working on sausage rolls (regular and gluten free), Scotch eggs, egg salad sandwiches, gluten-free brownies, poppyseed pound cake with lemon icing, and gluten-free Scottish shortbread. Jasper helped me as he was able but he is struggling with a respiratory infection. To these goodies we added purchased cookies, macaroons, digestive biscuits, licorice allsorts, and fresh strawberries.

Then, of course, I made a big pot of tea and got out some proper teacups and saucers for the boys to use. When they arrived, we watched a video about England while enjoying our goodies. The food was a big hit! I had to race through the material though as there was so much to cover.

After class, my husband showed me his incision, which definitely has developed a little infected area near the bottom end. Tomorrow he will need to call the surgeon’s office. I told him he didn’t need to be such a copycat! It was exactly a year ago today that I had my big surgery, and I also developed an infection afterward.

Oh, and guess what? It finally stopped raining this morning. So far this month we have already had twice the normal amount of rain for February.

My mother is still in the hospital and from what my dad says is really struggling. The fluid levels are still high and she is confused and “foggy.” Her thyroid is not functioning. So, plenty to pray for and also for my dad as he works to make sure she is getting good care.

Deluge

It rained all day. It has been raining all evening. I am tired of rain.

I had the blond brothers today for tutoring and then took my husband to my favorite bookstore which is closing on Friday. I still had quite a bit of store credit so Walter was able to find a few books he wanted. I may have picked up a couple myself. I have a feeling I may be back there one more time . . .

Gas Station Etiquette

During my trip home on Sunday, I had an experience at a gas station that has been rankling ever since, so naturally I am writing about it. When road tripping by myself, I often stop at Love’s Travel Stops because official “rest stops” often don’t come up when I need them, and at Love’s I can count on clean bathrooms, hot sausages, and petrol if I need it.

So on Sunday, while driving through Arkansas, my gas gauge was very low and I pulled into a Love’s which was very busy. All the pumps were occupied. I lined up behind a car which was empty, leading me to believe that the occupants had filled their tank and gone into the store to buy drinks and snacks.

Boy was I wrong. After I had waited for over fifteen minutes, a couple did return from the store with drinks and snacks. They knew I was waiting because they had to walk right past my car to get to their car. They spent several minutes talking and rearranging stuff in their car. Then the husband turned to the pump and started filling their tank.

I waited patiently, despite the fact that my quick stop for gas had already become much longer. Finally they finished fueling. Another conversation ensued, and then the husband strolled back (right past me) to get the window washer squeegee thing. He leisurely washed all the windows on their car. More talking before he finally got into the car. By the time they pulled away from the pump, I had been waiting for over half an hour (during which time the other pumps were always occupied and with lines behind them too).

Now here’s the thing: I would never make someone else wait like that. If the gas station is busy, I always pump first, then park my car somewhere else before going into the store because I hate to hold anyone up. And that is what I did on Sunday. As soon as I had filled my tank, I re-parked the car before going in to use the facilities and buy a drink. To me, that is only common courtesy. In fact I thought it was one of those unwritten rules of the road. What say you?

A Class, a Doctor, and a Book Club

Today I should have canceled my class. I learned this morning that one pair of siblings wouldn’t be coming due to illness—but I forgot that the other pair of siblings was out of state . . . which left only two students in the class. So I only had two students to take the vocabulary quiz and I decided against discussing the project they’ll be working on.

After lunch I took Jasper to the doctor and unfortunately it went about like I expected. He was unprepared to do any procedure today and is unwilling/unable to remove the toenail permanently. So next week we’ll go in to have the toenail removed in hopes that it will grow back without any more problems or infection. I personally expect that the problem will not go away until the toenail is gone for good. We have some kind of toe curse in this family.

I dropped Jasper off at home and continued on to my book club meeting. I really, really hated this month’s book. To my surprise, I found that others did not share my loathing. The other members of the club are all native Texans, and they appreciated it as an accurate depiction of life in a small Texas town. Never have I felt more like an outsider! I could not relate to the book at all. I found it depressing and dismaying, but I did learn a lot from listening to the others’ comments. This club has been so good for me, exposing me to books and to viewpoints I otherwise never would have encountered.

While I was off being educated, I had the groceries delivered by Aldi again. I just did not have time to go grocery shopping. I had set aside time to go for my walk, but was stymied there because there was a basketball game going on and I am no longer allowed to walk on the track during games.

Meanwhile, my mom is in the hospital and they are working to drain the excess fluid from her body. I don’t know how long she will be there but I suppose until they get the fluid levels down to a more acceptable level. My brother Matt should be there later this week.

Back to Work

It was full speed ahead today as I had my high school class to prepare for and teach. This is yet another busy week! (Yeah, we ignored Presidents’ Day.)

In the afternoon I had a tutoring student and then was free to work on other class preparations.

I was very busy, but I didn’t have to drive anywhere today. I call that a win.

This evening I received word that my mother is back in the hospital because of the severe fluid retention. And the lower end of Walter’s incision is red and puffy and painful. Both of these are prayer requests!

Christ Liveth In Me

Christ Liveth in Me

Daniel W. Whittle

Once far from God and dead in sin,
No light my heart could see;
But in God’s Word the light I found,
Now Christ liveth in me.

Refrain

Christ liveth in me,
Christ liveth in me,
Oh! what a salvation this,
That Christ liveth in me.

As rays of light from yonder sun,
The flowers of earth set free,
So life and light and love came forth
From Christ living in me.

Refrain

As lives the flower within the seed,
As in the cone the tree,
So, praise the God of truth and grace,
His Spirit dwelleth in me.

Refrain

With longing all my heart is filled,
That like Him I may be,
As on the wondrous thought I dwell
That Christ liveth in me.

Refrain

Weekend Recap

This time my silence was due to lack of internet. I am back from my hurried trip to Tennessee.  When I make that drive to visit my parents, I stay with my aunt, who doesn’t have internet. So I’m either at the nursing home visiting my mom or at my aunt’s house where I can’t get online, so blogging does not happen.

I wasn’t able to leave until 4:00 on Wednesday afternoon, after three days of rain. When I left, it was cloudy and overcast, and I drove through some drizzle, but no real rain. It is hard for me to drive that far when I leave that late in the day, but I made it. Jordan texted me that he was leaving the door unlocked for me so he could go to bed. Mary was out and wouldn’t be home till after midnight.

So when I arrived at their place at about 11:00, there were only two very surprised and indignant cats to meet me. When I woke up Thursday morning, Jordan had already left for work and Mary was still asleep. So I made some tea in my travel mug, carried my stuff out to the car, and set off without having seen either Mary or Jordan!

When I was fairly close to my parents’ town, I stopped to buy some flowers for my mother, and then tried to arrange them in the trunk of my car while trying not to freeze to death. It was very cold!

My dad wanted me to come straight to the nursing home, so I did. They both were glad to see me, and Mom loved the flowers. Dad had to leave to run some errands, so I stayed with Mom and we did one of the puzzles I had brought in memory of the many hours we spent doing puzzles together in the past. She was really out of practice, but it was an easy puzzle and we finished it quite quickly. She loves the picture on it (birds) and we kept it on the tray to show Dad when he returned.

I left shortly after supper so as to get to my aunt’s house while she was still up to let me in. She goes to bed very early most nights. I have so much reading to do for my classes that I didn’t have to wonder how to spend the rest of the evening!

Friday morning was very cold—well below freezing—and I was glad I had packed my warm coat. I had tea with my aunt and then made tea in my travel mug AND a whole thermos of tea because the nursing home is a tea-free desert. I arrived a few minutes before visiting hours technically started, but no one stopped me so I went in and found my mom up and dressed and patiently waiting for physical therapy.

While we waited, I read to her from the latest #1 Ladies Detective Agency book, a series she loves. Then we got talked into going to the nursing home’s Valentine’s Party. I’m not sure what I expected. What we got was a room full of mostly silent residents sitting at tables with plates of snacks in front of them. Swing music was playing. The only item on the agenda was crowing the Valentine’s “king” and “queen” and taking pictures of them. Others could then get their pictures taken with props in front of the backdrop, so I had one taken of Mom and me and then I wheeled her back to her room.

By lunchtime, they still hadn’t come to get her for therapy so I wheeled her down to the dining room for her big date with Dad. By that time my aunt and her assistant were also there. Mom refused to eat until Dad arrived. When he did, he came bringing a dozen red roses and a sweet card/poster that she could hang up over her bed. He paid for a meal tray so he could eat lunch with her.

After lunch she finally had therapy and was worn out by the end of it. She needed a nap. So Dad and I went back to the house so I could do the one thing he’d requested—help him make a mincemeat pie. He wanted to enhance the recipe to make it more like the mincemeat he remembers from his childhood. We had a little issue finding a pie plate, but eventually we got the filling made and once the pie was in the oven I headed back to the nursing home to see Mom, who had just woken up from her nap.

We were able to do a video call with my Aunt Glenda, my mom’s youngest sister, and she really enjoyed getting to chat for a few minutes. Dad rejoined us at supper time and then we took Mom down to the dining room so she could watch a couple of favorite TV shows (she doesn’t have her own TV in her room). Dad ran out to buy some snacks and Mom ate a surprising amount of caramel corn!

Saturday morning after tea with my aunt I loaded most of my stuff into the car and headed back to the nursing home. Mom was up and waiting for me and had already had therapy, so I wheeled her through the halls just for something to do and then into the lobby where we watched the birds for a while.

When she started getting cold we returned to the room and I read to her for the rest of the morning. The big success of the day was that she finished her whole lunch. Getting her to eat is a huge struggle at every meal but she must have really liked that chicken and gravy.

After she finished eating, we had a brief video chat with my daughter Lina, after which Mom needed a nap and I needed to get on the road. I said my goodbyes and headed back to my aunt’s house to get my cooler before heading out of town. I stopped in Nashville to meet another aunt (my mom’s other sister) and uncle and visit with them over a meal before continuing on to Memphis.

Mary and Jordan had a fire going as it was another cool evening. Picture this idyllic scene: a fire crackling in the fireplace over glowing embers, two pampered cats stretched out enjoying the warmth—and three humans all working on their laptops! But I really needed to get some work done after being without internet for three days.

Today I enjoyed a leisurely breakfast with Mary and Jordan before getting back on the road. The drive was uneventful. I picked up some food on my way into town and we had our usual Sunday family dinner with minimal effort from me. All my effort has gone into my school responsibilities!