I've been holding off on reporting anything until I had a better feel for what's coming up next. Lots of possibilities in the works, but no firm plans yet. Still, it seems to be time for another update.
First of all, last night Stu showed me something new------he is able to move his left leg! The muscles are, of course, very weak, but his PT guy, Tex, has been working with him steadily and he is making progress. It will still be a while before he can put any weight on that leg, but it's good to see it starting to come back to life. Also, the feeding tube has not had to be used in several weeks, and there is discussion about removing it. Yay!! Stu is able to be at all three meals, in his wheelchair, another encouraging sign. Most encouraging of all to me is the steady stabilizing of his spirits------he has down days, of course (who wouldn't), but we have had many wonderful conversations, full of hope and good cheer. I spend the dinner hour with him most days, often on the patio outside-----sometimes I bring him a homecooked meal, sometimes we both eat whatever's on the menu at Laurel Hill. Then we take a turn around the patio, sometimes venturing into the parking lot. The routine is stabilizing for both of us!
Now about the plan to bring him home...... The long range plan is to remodel Stu's old leather shop, making the bathroom and entrances wheelchair accessible, and making the space workable for both him and me to live in. Our daughter Rachel and her husband Jerome would live in the main house with the grandkids, (a welcome change for me from living alone on these six unruly acres.) All this would involve a great deal of remodeling----I have been making sarcastic jokes about dynamiting the whole house and starting from scratch for years now. I like the way Jerome's eyes light up at the thought of farming this property-----maybe he will be able to bring my long-held dream to life! I have always pictured this place as a working farm, with my little bakery right at the heart of it.
With this vision in mind, Jerome, Rachel and I sat down last week with my landlady of fifteen years and talked turkey. She and her husband are amenable to the idea of a lease/purchase. This is new! The combination of our situation and the lagging economy has opened this door. She is consulting an attorney about the best way to proceed, but it looks good. The next day I met with the transition coordinator from Senior and Disablity Services about the remodel in the shop. She came out and looked at the space, and was able to advise me on what would be needed and what kind of help we could get. She assured me that Medicaid will help with equipment needed and caregivers. There is also some help available with the remodeling-----but there has been an offer from my church to make the remodel a church project. Wow. Wouldn't that be a glory? We will see how it all pans out, Stu and I are right in the middle of an amazing story! Truly, God's Stroke of Genius! If any of you has skill or materials that you would like to contribute, let me know. On Thursday, after talking over all the work that needs to be done with a contractor, I found myself discouraged and overwhelmed by the project. "How will it all be accomplished?? There's too much, it's never going to happen" (this is my default mode, by the way-----I'm sure I'm not alone!) It didn't take but a few minutes for this scripture to come to mind, though: "Unless the Lord builds the house, he labors in vain who builds it" Psalm 127. It occurred to me that if God wants this work done, it will certainly be done----and if He doesn't, no amount of scheming or fretting on my part will bring it about. He gave me that verse many years ago, and I have found it to be true on many levels. Not just our earthly houses but our spiritual, eternal houses are planned and built by Him. He knows what He's doing, and it's sometimes a surprise----but always so much better that my own limited imagination!
Finally, my little bakery is finding it's feet after three months of limbo. There were some hard weeks when I slowly had to face that I wouldn't be returning to Grower's Market in the foreseeable future. Heavens! I have not had a summer off in 29 years! It's a little like standing in a cage with the door open-----is it really all right to step outside? I'm finding that it is! I am receiving private orders that I fill as they come in. I have several accounts that keep me busy: The Human Bean, Grants Pass Pharmacy, Rogue Express, and Goin Rogue all carry cookies or scones. And I had a Bakery/Barn/Art Sale last week here on the property and reconnected with customers, sold off some no longer needed items, and totally forgot to put out Stu's art! Ha! Guess I'll have to do it again to get that one right. This week and next I'm preparing for our daughter Becky's baby shower-----our first grandchild from Matt and Becky is due in September, a little girl. Hooray! I am already calling her Scout (if you haven't read "To Kill a Mockingbird", you won't get it) And there has been a constant string of birthdays, graduations, and celebrations of all kinds to keep me busy making cakes and party food. Somehow it's all good----even Stu's current condition. Last night, during our weekly reading of Job (truly a godsend for all of us every week, by the way), Stu commented "I am so encouraged by what we've said here tonight that I'm actually looking forward to being alone tonight with God after you leave! This has reminded me that I really know him, and He loves me! God is so good!" Just another example of how the Lord builds the house-----from the ground up. And He builds to last. Can't wait to live the next chapter of this story-----I'll keep ya posted!