Thursday, June 26, 2008

No Lapses in His Goodness, Part II

Thanks for all your kind remarks on my previous post. In answer to your question, yes, the dogs were destroyed by the (very reluctant) owners. I had planned to put some great thoughts down in here regarding all the life lessons one can gain by being mauled by an insane animal ;o) However, at the moment, I'm doing good just to keep my head above water here at home. In fact, reminiscing about and looking at pictures of what happened four years ago has just managed to weigh me down during a time of already heavy stress. SO! I'm removing the offending images, and I'll get back to this topic during a more cheery phase of life. Sorry to all waiting with bated breath for my words of wisdom ;o) So I guess I will give a SHORT summary...

The title of this blog is the life lesson that I really learned during that time: There are no lapses in the goodness of God~ EVER! What happened today was the best thing the Father could have allowed for this day. Including the wet bed right after I put on the freshly laundered sheets. From the trivial to the traumatic, God is out to use my trials to conform me to the image of His Son.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

No Lapses in His Goodness, Part I

Tomorrow marks four years since the scariest day of my life. Most of you know part of this tale. Instead of rehashing all of it myself, I thought I'd just share some quotes from our lawyer, along with some pictures. (If you don't like yuck, don't scroll down~ I didn't put the really yucky stuff on here, of course). In the next few days, I'd like to share a few things I've learned from this "random act of violence" in my life. Here are the facts of the 'case.' Obviously, this was written right after the incident, hence the paranoid behavior described below ;o)

"On June 23, 2004, between 1:00 PM and 1:30 PM in the afternoon, Charity Brown, a 23-year-old female resident of Coaling, AL, opened the back door to her home and took her miniature dachshund puppy Chips out onto the back porch. The dog Chips was on a retractable leash and needed to go the bathroom. She was standing on the back porch steps of her home when, without warning, the defendant’s dogs came racing around the corner of the house. They didn’t seem to see her at first and went for the puppy. Instinctively, she yelled, “No!,” diverting the dogs’ attention. As soon as they became aware of her, they completely lost interest in the smaller dog. One of the dogs lunged at the front of her thick denim skirt. Shocked that they were actually trying to bite her, she turned on the steps to get back inside the house. That’s when the actual attack occurred. The dogs together pulled her, by the skirt, off the porch backwards where she fell facedown in the grass. Mrs. Brown then sustained multiple bites and evulsions in the lower legs, one in the buttocks, and a scratch across the back. She had instinctively curled her hands into fists and tucked them under to protect her face and neck. It is assumed that at some point one of the dogs made an attempt to get to her face, as her upper arm was badly scratched, either by nails or teeth. The plaintiff is not sure exactly how long the attack lasted, but it was surely no more than five minutes. She called for help initially, but no one came. It was a drizzly day, and no one was outside within hearing distance. The dogs began to fight over a piece of the skirt’s fabric they had ripped away, giving her the critical seconds to pull away from the distracted animals and walk the few feet to the back door of her home. As she was reentering her home, the dogs came after her again, and one began biting at her feet. The slides she was wearing came off, and one of the dogs latched onto her left foot and began trying to drag her back outside. She realized at this point that if they succeeded in getting her back on the ground, she would most likely die, as no one was there to pull the 60 lb. dogs off her again. In panic, she ripped her foot from the dog’s mouth and hurried to shut the door. Her puppy had rushed back inside, unscathed. Once inside, she could tell she had sustained serious wounds. She took the portable phone and headed for the bathroom to wrap the leg that was bleeding the most in a towel, calling 911 as she went. She then went back into the living room and sat in the floor to await help. Local volunteers arrived within minutes, then paramedics with the ambulance. She was transported to Northport Medical Center, where she spent 3-4 hours being cleaned and sewn up.

The physical injuries sustained by Mrs. Brown required 37 stitches. The description of the injuries is as follows: one bad scratch to the back of upper left arm, one bite/scratch to middle of back, one bite to lower right buttocks, (none of which required stitching although they were bleeding); one bite behind left knee, three deep bites on left calf (evulsions, with tissue hanging out), one bite to back of right knee, a bad scrape to front of left knee (possibly from being dragged across porch steps), and injuries to the left foot. The left foot was sliced horizontally below the little toe, and vertically between the little toe and the one next to it. The wound went between the toes, up the side of the second and around the back. There was very little skin left on this part of the foot and the bone was exposed. The physician who sewed it up had to work particularly hard to pull together what ripped remnants he could to reconstruct the second toe. 15 of the 37 stitches were used to put the toe back together. X-rays were done, but thankfully, no bones seemed to be broken. Each of the injuries described above left scarring, with the toe, back of right knee, back and front of left knee becoming keloid scars. There was a small puncture on the sole of the left foot, which left no scar. There was also serious bruising, as may be imagined, which faded with time.

The treatment itself caused physical problems. The strong antibiotics she was placed on stripped her intestinal tract of healthy bacteria, causing four weeks of intestinal upset... She also developed [various infections], requiring medication. Darvoset (sp?) made her ill, and she had to take another pain medication instead.

Healing was extremely painful. For the weeks she was on bedrest, anytime she lowered her legs to the floor caused excruciating pain as the blood rushed into the injured areas. Standing was impossible for some time.

The emotional injuries sustained by Mrs. Brown are much more permanent. Having grown up with very large dogs (i.e. German shepherds, etc.), she never was afraid of dogs, and truly enjoyed being around any and all types of dogs. Friends had Rottweilers, bulldogs, Labs, beagles, collies and she enjoyed them all. She often went door to door canvassing with church groups, encountering strange dogs without fear. However, her perception of dogs has permanently changed. She describes taking her dog to the veterinarian’s office as “sitting in a room full of loaded weapons.” She sees each and every dog as a potential threat, and avoids all contact with them if possible. For several months following the attack, she never went outside without a container of mace. Even now, a simple trip to the mailbox is approached with wary caution. Her worst fear is that a dog will sense her fear, making her more prone to fall victim to another attack in the future. She is afraid that her fear of dogs will be sensed by her child, making her a possible victim to such an attack. She feels cheated out of enjoying an animal she has always truly loved. Knowing that 99% of dogs would never attack a person in that way does not ease the fear. She has had many nightmares about the incident, where the feeling of hopelessness and imminent pain and death are the main themes."

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Better Late Than Never

In a recent post, I mentioned some pictures. Here they are ~ better late than never. The first set is of an Jewish dinner we held with friends to commemorate Israel's 60th anniversary. The second is from my sister's high school graduation.

Our Centerpiece: Nathan brought me this menorah back from Israel last time he went. I love it.

Paula's Challah was beautiful and TASTY!

Lentil Pilaf (from a mix) ~ very tasty. Unfortunately, I had just removed a tick from our dog, and the lentils, well, they looked so much like... well, let's just say, I struggled ;o)

And here is my first attempt at making potato latkes. They were quite scary looking. The greenish tinge is from the olive oil and the potato starch mixing. I should have fried them up ASAP, instead of letting them sit. Anyways, they're like a glorified home-made hashbrown, traditionally consumed with applesauce and sour cream. We tried the combination. The dish in the background was like a nasty gruel I made from a mix~ hey, you win some, lose some!

So proud of my little sister! She gave the Salutatorian Speech!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Ethics Question of the Day:

Would you ever cheat at Chutes and Ladders with your three-year-old to make it go faster? Who in their right mind would ever create such a maddening game for toddlers? The only thing it seems to teach is how to deal with moments of mega frustration. (Not a bad lesson, I suppose.) And, no. I haven't cheated so far...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Laughter is Good Medicine~ even at one's own expense!

For the sick and weary, read on. For those healthy and hale, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. (BTW, some dear friends have suggested that my self-deprecation is excessive. Thanks for your concern. I hate to tell you that this post is along the same lines. If you compassionate souls can't bear it, link to one of my more cheery friends ;o) Besides, I like to make others smile, even if they have a laugh at my expense.

With that said, I went to Winn-Dixie this evening with Alex. I planned to stroll leisurely through with my pajama-clad child, pick out a few necessities like Low-Fat Honey Graham Crackers, and head home. Kathryn MUST have graham crackers dipped in milk before bed, or the end of the world has come. When I returned to the parking lot, I noted a suspicious looking gent in a nearby car (you have to know that our area has an abundance of these). So I quickly loaded my child and groceries into the car, opened, closed, and locked my door in one smooth motion. As I prided myself on being so safety-conscious, I put the key in the ignition and turned. Nothing. Nothing at all. I ran through checking the radio, the lights, the a/c, the locks, still nothing. After about 5 minutes of checking through my options (and yes, I left the cell phone at home~ no hate mail, please), I realize that it is getting hotter in the car by the moment. Outside the car, it was 97 degrees, so you can imagine. I now realize I am locked in my sweltering car SOMEHOW with my baby, and we're going to die.

I threw my pride out the proverbial window and began banging on my own closed one. The only person I can see is a smoking, dreadlock-clad brother jamming out to his very loud rap. So HE couldn't hear me, obviously. Finally, after much banging and a good bit of prayer, I managed to attract the attention of someone (more blonde than myself). She promptly panicked, called 911, and began going through my trunk to open an air passage for us. She asked me about passing the baby back through the back seat to her, but I thought the air was enough, thank you. Just then, I think, "Did I MANUALLY try to unlock this door?" Quickly followed by, "Please, Lord, don't let it open!" But it popped right up, and I popped right out.

Then the uniforms began to arrive (due to above-mentioned 911 call). The first was more than generous and just kind of stared at me in shock. The second muttered under his breath, "HOW can you lock yourself in your own car?!" and sped away. So! Tonight, I am the topic of conversation over doughnuts and coffee at our local Hueytown Police Station. Blessings on them for taking care of us idiots. And hey, I needed the laugh. Maybe you do, too. ;o)

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Confessions of a Perfectionist

I just humiliated myself. I just pulled our riding lawn mower to the front yard and then right back into the garage. I couldn't figure out how to make it cut grass. I hate moments like that. That's when I hope all the neighbors were busy cutting onions in the kitchen or better yet, gone. Thankfully, the woman whose kitchen window faces my house is on vacation. Yep! I had all those thoughts. I hate feeling stupid.

Many people in my past think that I'm really something special. That's because most of them knew me in a school setting. If there's one thing I can do consistently well, it's academics. Yes, sir. I'm a certified nerd. I can pull a ridiculously high grade in pretty much any subject, and to top it off, I test well, too. Growing up, I was a big fish in a small pond. Aha, the birth of a perfectionist. If I ever made below an A, and it was "publicized" somehow, I was harassed by classmates for days. My mother, working in an adjoining school, found out about my one B in ninth grade, before school was dismissed for the day. Anyways, I quickly adjusted by avoiding anything I wasn't sure I'd succeed at. Pretty easy until you're 18. When your whole life is school, and that's easy enough, well.... the real world was coming quickly.

The truth is I'm pathetic at many things: I don't sing parts. When I'm with Nathan's talented friends, I lip-sync. Decorating a home is extremely hard for me. I hate scrapbooking. I'm technologically and mechanically challenged (hence, lawnmower and aforementioned computer problems). I'm not athletic or graceful on skates. Have you ever mistaken four cloves of garlic for four BULBS? Whew! A 12x60 trailer will stink for weeks! I don't take enough pictures of my kids. And did I mention that I really struggle with praying?

Sometimes, I get so caught up in 'hiding' my shortcomings. I guess subconsciously that I expect the people in my life to snicker behind their hands or even openly say, "What! You can't do THAT?! I guess you're not perfect, after all." Well, here I am, opening my insecurities up to you, my dear blogger friends. I thought it might be more helpful to blog on this than to keep crying on the couch while Alex screams and Kathryn says, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry...." ;o) I recently heard someone say, "When I became a man, I put away childish things, including the fear of being thought childish." That's my goal for right now. And if anyone would like to mow the grass before Nathan arrives home from TX tonight, just knock.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

A Backlog of Blogging...

Following are some pictures of some things we've been up to. The first set are pictures of a 'kosher' dinner we had with some friends to commemorate Israel's 60th birthday. It was such fun! We followed the meal by watching a neat documentary called "Israel: A Nation is Born" with Abba Eban as narrator. Very educational. I thought Paula's challah bread was most impressive!

Next are some pictures of my younger sister, Chelsea's, high school graduation. She was the salutatorian of her class. Congratulations to my brave and smart sis! I just can't believe she's old enough to graduate. She also just turned 18, and plans to go to Bible College in the fall! I plan to gift her with a car tag that says, "PLZD8ME" What do you think?

UGH!! Wouldn't you know it? My camera and computer are giving each other the cold shoulder. In other words, they're not communicating, and our resident tech guru is sitting in a Ruth's Chris steakhouse (I'm feeling slightly jealous) somewhere in TX with his boss. OK, so pictures later...