Story Collecting in a Waiting Room

“So you went to Dale Enterprise School? Have you seen the book that was published about that school?”

My mom’s conversation soaked into my brain, interrupting my reading. I had to laugh. On a whim, I bought Daughter of Promises “Story” issue, and since it arrived the day before, I threw it in my backpack for the long wait. I was currently reading an article on the best way to engage people in conversation, including a list of questions to ask. I should’ve just put down my magazine and followed my darling Mother around.

Mother takes a break from project “glean lifestory of everyone in the waiting room”

My mom is an angel, and she has the ability, and the drive to strike up a conversation with everyone. “What time did you get here this morning?” She asked the first people we sat beside. And soon she was looking carefully at the swollen finger that was heading for biopsy. The scene repeated itself again when she was comparing notes with a man who was waiting on his wife- I watched as mother and the camo clad man stood side by side staring at their similar carpel tunnel scars in the palm of their hands discussing the pros and cons of different surgeries.

“See, I made some friends” Mother commented as family after family was called downstairs to meet their loved one coming off of anesthesia. As each one left, they’d wave at us in our little corner. Me, deep in my magazine learning how to collect stories, and my mom, waiting to chat with the next stranger who needed a friend.

I’m not sure where to start on my sweet sister Emily’s story. I guess the first chapter was probably about 24 years ago when an irritated, much bigger, much stronger, older sister, decided it was time to deposit a persistent Emily outside the bedroom door. 😔 I remember how bad I felt after I yanked her by her arm, dislocating her elbow and earning her first trip to seek medical attention. There was no question that I was in the wrong. But what I didn’t know is how this would become Ems story. Dislocation after dislocation, surgery after surgery. Which brings us to the current situation: Em was in surgery for the 6th joint repair, while we waited.

When the doctor told Em that her “good knee” looked like a 75 year old knee, and that she needed surgery immediately, if not before. We balked at the idea. She had just completed therapy from the last knee. The fact that the same week as the doctor’s news, the hospital made a mistake and old bills from the last surgery started reappearing in Ems mailbox, did nothing to soften the blow.

So she moved forward, slowly, wishing for other options. And we stormed the gates of Heaven, and grieved for her pain.

Finally the 220 minutes scheduled for her surgery were over and we were ushered to her room. Mother (who discovered that volunteer who was taking us to Em’s room had broken her femur in August) briefed her on Ems history and said “this certainly isn’t our first rodeo” and behind the curtain, a very familiar, slightly slurred voice stated “this ain’t my first rodeo!”

I was not prepared for Emily on pain meds coming off of anesthesia. What a trip! She kept up a very animated conversation-that she basically remembers nothing from. She kept seeing us for the first time “Mother! You’re here! And Ken! Where’s Kerry?” And so many puns “I have so many crutches” she bragged “I’m practically Crutchfield”. Find Emily’s pain med induced opinion on drugs here

All too soon, the Outpatient Center was ready to close for the night and we were hurried towards the door.

The lights of home never looked so good, as we wearily headed up the lane, bracing for a painful night.

But the story doesn’t end there. Some of the things we dreaded most about this surgery we are breezing through- like the post op nausea. Some might say that it was because of the IV anesthesia, but I think it’s a credit to all the prayers from our sweet friends. Thank you. And please keep them coming.

We aren’t home free, but we are surviving.

Thank you Jesus,


P.S I’m trying to keep Em entertained (I got her up to see the lunar eclipse even if it was 5° outside 😉) but I know she wouldn’t mind to have a different entertainment committee on board-she’d love to hear from you. But be warned if you come to visit, we just might ask the correct questions to get you to share your story ☺️

Bonus pics:

A very talented friend from Jul and Sherms church took a Cedar log that we discovered, and turned it into a masterpiece. I could bearly believe how good it turned out 🙂

Snow Fun

To all of you who are weary of fighting the weather: just walk on past this post and pretend you never saw it.

And to the rest of you brave souls who continued reading… Can I just say that the winter weather we’re having makes me so happy? Last weekends snow was perfect.

We went to the dairy and most of us spent the night (KJ and Em were on chicken duty and didn’t arrive until Sunday) But having the entire family on Paradise Land watching the snow fly did my ol heart good.

We had so much good food. ( the recipe to these pretzel bowls is here Such a fun treat!)

Mr Kennell was the chief charioteer when it came to the four wheeler/sled combo. We tried insisting the dogs each get a ride, but were only able to wrestle the younger dogs onto the sled (notice how Pagosa has her paw hanging onto Deb for dear life) The older/wiser dogs could not be forced into submission no matter how hard we tried. 😂

Deb brought cotton home from Alabama so part of the afternoon was spent creating.

The bonus to my weekend was the frost tipped mountains on Monday. I conned a few ever patient victims into exploring with me. And wow! The frosty world nipped at our faces and mesmerized us at the same time.

I love these people. 😍

If I could choose one experience and keep it forever, I think I’d choose a snow weekend. When my fam is all together, remembering days gone by, drinking coffee, dreaming of days to come. Laughing and crying together and loving each other the best way we know how.

These are the days.

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for designing such luxuries as a snowy weekend, that causes us to pause in our various schedules, and allows us to enjoy the best gift. Family. 💞