Happy 284 +1

Jerry and I have this tradition of celebrating our “month-a-veraries”.  We were married on the 11th of November so we have a bit of a contest to see who can wish the other “Happy Month-A-Versary” on the 11th of each month.  The one who “wins” gloats and the “looser” does what any good Borton does – pouts (all in fun) that we were beaten at our own game!  And yes, we’ve been known to set alarms for midnight, or force ourselves to stay awake, or whatever other way we can find to assure we get to wish the other first!

Well yesterday was our 284th Month-A-Versary (and for the record I “won” – though overall we’re about equal in this game!).  In our early years of marriage we would re-read our wedding vows to one another on the 11th – it was a great reminder of what we committed to on that day that is so overwhelming it is hard to remember what we said or did!  Over the years we re-recite them less often – but hopefully are living them out more regularly.  We’ll have to re-visit that idea.

As I was trying to fall asleep last night next to my husband who was really feeling miserable with this infection and fever I thought “Well Happy Month-A-Versary to me; this is a fun start to vacation.”  Thankfully I did not wallow long, but did recall that in our vows we committed to do life together – while we didn’t say these exact words it was for the “better or worse, richer or poorer, sickness or health.”  Well how much more of real life could we get on this 284th month?

It made me think of the many times someone who has met us tells me “how lucky” Jerry is to have me, or what an amazing person I am to marry someone who has a disability.  Seriously?  I have to admit that in my flesh I am sometimes tempted to agree with them, but usually I respond to them something like, “you think you see what I do for Jerry; you have no idea what he does for me.  I am the lucky and blessed one!”  Physical assistance and care is one thing, and yes it is a big one thing, and honestly can get wearing and tiring.  But – the emotional, spiritual and mental support Jerry provides me is far greater and has made me a better person on oh so many levels!  J

Early on in our relationship I penned the Top Ten Reasons to Marry a Guy in a Wheelchair.  In honor to our 284+1 I share it with you!

10. You don’t have to stand on tiptoes to style his hair!
 9. You get great parking spot
 8.   You have lots of fun gadgets to “play with” and exercise creativity as you learn to repair them!
 7.    Sometimes you get to fly first class for the price of coach!
6.   Shopping is easier when you can hang the bags on his chair!
5.   The back of his clothing does not need repair or ironing!
4.  He provides you with free strengthening and aerobic training!
3.   There are lots of places at home to hide things from him!
2.   The toilet seat is always down!
1.       He is created in the image of God to be my wonderful protector, encourager, comforter, lover and friend!

        Written by:  Joan Borton

Hello from Cleveland . . .

Here we are on our first night of vacation and my beloved is snuggled under extra blankets trying to sweat out a fever and get rid of an infection.  Yes – we sure know how to live it up on vacation!  We’re praying that when he wakes up in the morning God will have used the 24 hours of antibiotic and a good night’s rest so he’ll feel better . . . after all we have baseball games to see, friends and family to catch up with and time to enjoy being together!

I’ve always been a fan of driving trips (though I also enjoy flying training and cruising!).  Typically I attribute my preference for driving to my need to be in control (I know that’s a shocker statement for some of you to hear!). But today I think I realized it is more than control.  Driving is a great time for me to ponder (in case you haven’t noticed I am a fan of that word!).  Most of my days are packed so full of interaction with others and hurrying and scurrying from one task to another, or doing several at once.  Recently I’ve even taken to turning off the radio and just enjoying quiet while I drive.  It gives me time to observe the beauty of creation, see patterns in the clouds, enjoy the nature and use each of those to kickstart some thinking and praying. 

Reminds me of the quote I read this week from Ann Voskamp –  “It happens when we rest – that we relinquish our ambitions to be like God.”

Now there’s a statement that deserves some pondering; especially on a week of vacation. Rest , , , something I am too quick to say I can’t do; or don’t have time to rest. But maybe that goes back to my control thing, I don’t really think I want to be God, but I just know He has His hands pretty full and somehow figure that if I can take a few things off His hands, he’ll appreciate it. Oh how foolish of me. Through release and rest I can let God be God and marvel and ponder on His greatness. So here’s to a week of rest, and letting go of my God complex. Cover me – in prayer – this doesn’t come easy to me!

It had to happen sometime – but now???

Friday I drove home from two amazing weeks of serving as the Assistant Director at Joni and Friends Family Retreats.  I had the opportunity to confront and work through some challenging situations over the two weeks, yet, coming home to find a dead bird was the “straw that broke the camel’s back” – at least emotionally!

Here’s the back story. . . returning home this weekend marks the one year anniversary of the last time I came home and was met by Mom when she was feeling mostly normal, though signs of her being seriously ill were rapidly building.  Just 3 1/2 weeks later she was with Jesus.  Throughout this last year of grieving and learning a new normal, I have periodically commented that I do not know what I will do when there is a dead animal in our yard.  Mom often thought I was strong, but really she was the tough one.  Yes I admit that even at age 50 plus I would “let” (translate beg!) my 86 year old Mother be the one to remove a dead bird or mouse that was outside.  In fact just a few weeks before she got sick she helped a police office remove a dead skunk from the middle of the road!

So it happened – and of course it had to be at an anniversary mark.  As I put my car in the garage I noticed that my blueberry bush was filled with ripe berries.  I grabbed a container and began thinking of how great the blueberries would taste and different ways we could enjoy them.  As I got to the bush I saw it – a robin lying dead on the edge of the garden in front of the bush.

So I did what I always do in this situation – I retreated to the house and freaked out!  Then I tried to rally my rational strong woman self and thought, “This is ridiculous, it’s a dead bird – go get it and move on with the berries.  If Mom could do it, you can!”  So I wrapped a plastic bag around a pair of Jerry’s grabbers (another advantage to having a husband with a disability) and ventured back to the garden.  I rolled the trash can right there, so once I picked it up I could drop it in. I took a few deep breaths, and made my first attempt with the grabbers.  It was then I realized the bird was caught in the netting over the blueberry bush (yes the very net put there to discourage birds from eating my berries!).

I shuddered, cried and was overwhelmed by “I can’t do this!”.  I paced back and forth looking up and down the street to see if any neighbors were out who could help me.  There were none so I retreated back to the comfort of my home and lost it – I mean full blown sobbing that I could not deal with a dead bird – and that I knew this would happen some day – but why did it have to be now when I was already grieving Mom at this anniversary time.

After a few minutes (that felt like hours) Jerry pulled in the driveway.  Not wanting to greet him with a tearful sobbing wife, I waited till he came in the house.  Little did I know he would bring our 9 and 6 year old neighbor kids with him who were delivering our mail gathered while we were away.  I quickly turned my head away and tried to gather my composure.

After they left I broke out in tears again telling Jerry what a “wuss” I am and poured out the story.  He too went in search of a neighbor to help, to no avail.

So I did what all strong women do – I took a nap!

When I woke up my sister and her family had arrived.  My first words were asking for help from my brother-in-law.  Thankfully he and my niece Valerie had the fortitude to do what I could not do. With gratitude I went to pick the berries (and remove the remainder of the netting so it was not a death trap again).

Today I enjoy the berries, thank God for my family and fall on His mercy and grace to carry me through these next days and weeks.

I think I created this blog at the end of December 2011; when I had some time and thought I’d get to write pretty regularly.  Here is it February and I finally decided I have to “just do it” and not wait until I can get the time to do it “exactly as I’d like” because that may never happen. 

I enjoy writing, and it’s a great way for me to process, and recall the ways God is at work, so time to just begin.  So without eloquence, here are some of the stones of remembrance God has built into my life to date . . .

  • Being born and raised in a home where my parents lived their faith, and shared it with my sister and me.  It’s because of their passion for missions and service that I serve today.
  • Growing up around people with disabilities, so they became my friends first – before I ever even had an inkling that my career and family would be all about disability. 
  • Memorizing Scripture as a child that still comes back to my heart and mind today!
  • Jerry – my husband who knows me better than anyone else, and still chooses to love me and tell me he couldn’t imagine life without me (the same is true for you Babe!).  One of my favorite times of day with him is when we  read God’s Word and pray together. 
  • My mom who lives with us, prays for us and will still do anything for me.
  • Friends – who step in and provide for Jer’s attendant care needs while I am recovering from surgery . . . and those who have been able to work it into their schedule to continue to help us in this way even after I have recovered.
  • The “little people” (age wise) in my life who think it’s fun to spend time with us and teach me lessons about what really matters!

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