“Star of Hope, A Season of Waiting”

Christmas from Stock exchange

Christmas from Stock exchange

Star of Hope, A Season of waiting.

Prepare, Watch, Behold and Rejoice.  These are the words on our banner at our local country church. Each week a new strip has be added and hung each Sunday through the season of Advent.  Tonight is when we celebrate our Saviors birth. Have you been preparing? It seems we have for the entire month with decorating, shopping, baking, gift wrapping and card sending to our loved ones. It’s done. It is now time to watch, behold and rejoice. A time to celebrate the Prince of Peace who has come gently into the “far-from-peaceful” world.  What a gift it is to rest in the joy of his coming to bring Hope to every soul who seeks Him.

”Star of Hope” was a service held for a local Hospice House. A time for families to come together to remember and reminisce about the loved ones they have lost this year. A time to remember when families spent time together with their loved one caring for them. A time to share the life they led and thank them for all they did for each one of us.  A sad time but a time when we could reassure them that we loved them and were grateful for them. The service gave those present the feeling of hope.

Life is a Journey.  It is about everyday struggles of lives and how people can move on stronger than ever after a conflict has happened to them. My father was in this “Star of Hope” Season this year. We siblings cared for him, in his home. With the help of a local Hospice Care unit we managed to keep dad’s wishes and cared for him. What a Blessing it was for me. Tough days mixed with rewarding days. The journey ended January 18, 2012 after many years of battling cancer.

It is time to behold and rejoice. As you celebrate this Christmas Season with your family remember the “Reason for this Season”.  Jesus came that we may have everlasting life.  We need to rest in the assurance that we will rejoice at the end of our earthly life. Today I am wondering what Christmas will be like in Heaven for my dad this year. He will be rejoicing with other loved ones, celebrating the Christmas Season with the heavenly angels for the first time.

Be prepared, keep watching, behold our Savior, and rejoice with your families with Christmas Joy.

“It is in darkness that one finds the Light….”   Keep looking. Merry Christmas and remember Jesus is the Reason for the Season. Merry Christmas Dad and all my loved ones.

 

 

“Survivors”

“Survivors”

The definition of a survivor is “someone regarded as capable of surviving changing conditions, misfortune, etc.  A misfortune means a mishap, illness or calamity.

On May 30, 1966 Randy Krulish had a misfortune.  On October 1, 1948 I had an illness.  Randy was injured in a diving accident and fractured his neck leaving him paralyzed. I became very ill with poliomyelitis (Polio). Both were changing conditions. Both of us endured our changing conditions the same way. We became survivors.

Randy knew what it was like to be normal. He had twelve years to enjoy all the running and playing a boy should be able to endure. I became ill at six and a half months old. I was probably just learning how to crawl and perhaps walk around furniture holding on. I would never know what it was like to run, jump, skip or be normal.

Over the years, we both had families that were there supporting us in all we pursued.  We both grew up on farms in the Midwest, We both had careers that enabled us to make a living for ourselves.  We both have a very strong Faith to keep us going. Today we have both survived our changing condition.

Now many years later we have meet and made a friendship.  Recently we both spoke for our church Guest Day and shared our stories of inspiration. Challenges come our way every day. This day was no exception for Randy.  On the way to the church Randy had a flat tire on his van.  God placed him in the path, for repair, just in front of a young man that he knew from his home town who repaired his tire and sent him on his way. He arrived at church on time for his presentation. When it was time to leave to go back home the elevator did not work properly in the church. After much trying to repair it,  we decided that our best option was to call the Blooming Prairie Fire Department for a rescue.  Upon their arrival many men were working with Randy to find the safest way to carry his heavy wheel chair down the flight of steps.  Other firemen were working in the elevator to get it working. The elevator was working in no time and they did not have to carry that heavy chair down the steps. We were so grateful to the fire department for their assistance.

Randy and I with the Blooming Prairie Fire Department

Randy and I with the Blooming Prairie Fire Department

October 9 was anti bullying day in our school. Every one was encouraged to wear orange. School is back in session and we are looking forward to sharing our stories with the children. It is very important for them to see that because we are physically different, there is no need to treat us differently.  The #1 person bullied is a physically handicapped person. We share how we adjust to our challenges and make them positive.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. There are many survivors from breast cancer, thanks to early detection.  A good friend is doing all she can to fight cancer by joining forces with many in our community to raise money for the cause. As a survivor she will make a difference.

October 26 will be Polio Awareness Day. Rotary International has been working to eradicate the disease of polio by making sure that all children worldwide have their vaccinations. Please make sure that your children have their vaccinations.  Wee must all work together to “End Polio Now”.

Spinal cord injuries are making progress with research every day. There is always Hope.

 

 

“The missing Piece”

“The Missing Piece”

Piece: A part broken or separated from the whole. It is any single thing, a specimen, a piece of music.   Piecing: To add pieces to as in repairing, to join together pieces.

I haven’t taken time to write a blog for some time.  The pieces just don’t fit together with summer here and all the activities to enjoy. Winter stayed too long with our last snow storm May 2, 2013. Spring and summer arriving very late. In a farm community that is not the right combination. Concerns turn to prayers now that the crops are in that could get in.

Puzzles are joined pieces together.  While my father was in our care we put puzzles together. My brother had completed many in the past and it became something that we all worked on while we spent our time with dad during his final days on earth.  He shared with us the decision he made to no longer have any doctor appointments, diagnosis or treatment in October, 2012 and entered into Hospice care soon thereafter.  He was very fortunate that his four children and a grandson and granddaughter could help care for him, lovingly in his home, until his death January 18, 2013. I enjoyed the time spent with my siblings. As our lives stay busy we don’t get together as often and I loved the time we had together caring for dad.  I miss the connections.

Those puzzles completed allowed us to sit at the table and visit. Dad wasn’t much into the puzzle work. He would rather have a card game of huckley buck or 500 and that we did lots of.  The puzzles would become a conversation piece and when we couldn’t find a piece we were sure it was missing.  Then the next day it would appear. Friends and family would stop by to visit with dad and usually try to find a piece.  Two wild life pictures were completed and mounted.  The final puzzle we hesitated to start because we knew that it would probably not get completed in dad’s time.  However, we started it anyway.  “Nothing like a Jonathan” by Robert Duncan was given to us by a cousin. The picture of two little boys picking apples and their dog reminded her of the family dog, Patsy, that we grew up with and my two little brothers. Dad, the missing piece, shows up often in thought.  My daughter misses him awful and my son is caring for his land with a difficult spring.

The day of dad’s funeral service I rolled up the pieces completed in felt and moved them to my home.  I enjoyed working on it in the parlor by a nice sunny south window in the middle of winter.  As I completed sections I realized that I had a “missing piece”.  The color I needed just wasn’t among the remaining pieces. It really was missing.  Somewhat how it felt this past Sunday, Father’s Day, with dad no longer with us. He is now a missing piece of our family.

When I completed the puzzle I decided I wanted to mount it.  I made a piece from the cover of the box, with just the right color, and carefully shaped it to the missing piece.  It is visible but if you didn’t know the piece was missing you may not catch it. My husband got the board ready while I worked on getting the piece cut out just so with the correct color and shape. We bought the right puzzle glue and the project finished.  A few days later, while vacuuming, my husband said “guess what I found?” I knew what room he was in and I knew what he had found. I said “the puzzle piece.” It was the puzzle piece. Now I keep the missing piece in my desk drawer and every time I open the drawer I see the piece and I think of dad. A belated Happy Father’s Day to you dad. You are missed by your children, grandchildren and friends. God Bless you.

The missing puzzle piece

The missing puzzle piece

Community – Ties That Bind us together

We all belong to a community. It can be a family unit, co-workers, service organization, Church, Political parties, sports teams, volunteer groups, and many more ways of tying together. Some of these you joined to be an active supportive member.  Your family unit you became a part just by being born.  Whatever community you are a part of you have something in common and it binds you together. Lots of glue holds people together. That Glue is Love, Respect and caring.

I am going to pick just a few of these communities to share with you.  Family, especially our siblings, is our first and oldest community. They knew us as we grew into who we are now. Family communities might be delightful or difficult or both. Family builds deep and complex bonds.  Grandmas and Grandpas, Aunts and uncles, as well as cousins, become part of this community. It will last a lifetime. My heart swells as I think of all my siblings and I have been through as a family.  Some delightful days, and some that we might struggle with.  However, the bond that ties will always be there to hold us together.

The Church is a distinctive community, unlike any other. It is not based on us at all. It is the stirring of the Holy Spirit, who calls us, gathers us and enlightens us. Our little country church, Red Oak Grove, has a mission statement that says, “Gathering in Grace, Growing in Faith and going forth to Service.”  What a blessing it is for me to be part of this family. For me being part of my church enables me to be quilting with the ladies for local and world missions, being apart of the Women’s organization that does so much for the church and allows me to grow my faith. We recently celebrated our 150th Anniversary of “Celebrating God…Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”. May it continue to grow for another 150 years in God’s Grace.

Next,  I will pick two, as they fit together, Service Organizations and Sports Team.  Our little town just won the Boys Basketball Sub-Section Seat and will play for the section title this Thursday. This has not happened in over 40 years.  This draws a community together to support the team. Our  school is one of 80 schools in the United States with a one-of-a-kind nickname “Awesome Blossoms“. Our name was just in “most unusual mascot competition sponsored by USA Today. Unfortunately we lost to a much larger community by votes. Lots of votes were cast and we tried very hard but still came up short.  I live in a small community that cares about the people who live here.  While the Boys Basketball team brings lots of excitement and joy to our community a house fire, one day ago, brought sadness to a family and the entire community will rally around them to pray, support, comfort and help them anyway that

Boys Basket Ball "Blossoms" Team

Boys Basket Ball “Blossoms” Team

we can.  When you live in a small town people truly care about one another and show it. This small community supports a Chamber, Education Foundation, Volunteer Fire Department and Ambulance, Cancer Group, Lions, PTO,  Semcac,  Scouts, Knights of Columbus, VFW-Legion and Auxiliary, Women of Today, Ministerial Assoc. and Local Boys and Girls Club that all work together to make this a wonderful community. Which organization are you a part of?  I am so proud to be a “Blossom” and live where I can count on my neighbors if and when I should need their leaning hand.

Whether you like it or not you are part of a community.  Being a part of a community has been God’s design for human life. Our lives will be better for being a part of a community and it will give us purpose.  Communities help us enjoy life, contribute to the well-being of our neighbors.  It helps us to learn new things and maybe we will live longer.  Let’s celebrate Community.

The Brace Shop

“The Brace Shop”
It happens every once in a while that I need to take time to have an adjustment to my long  left brace. It becomes a part of me everyday as I get dressed and plan my day activities. It matters what brace I wear for the amount of activity I will be doing. The choice is always mine as to what brace I will wear. One will allow me to be very busy and give me the support I will need to address that tasks that I plan. The other will wait for another day to help me with less strenuous tasks. I am fortunate that Prosthetic Laboratories, my brace shop, is in Rochester, Minnesota only 45 miles away. They take care of all my needs.

Linda Age 10braces and crutches

Linda Age 10
braces and crutches

God knows that I always need strength, courage, endurance and creativity to navigate through my day. He helps me start everyday as I enjoy my cup of coffee and prayer.

Strength: Physical strength is important because my upper body helps my lower body. My arms, at the end of the day, are extremely tired from all they have to do.

Courage: “Courage is not the absence of fear. It is what we do despite our fear.” It takes a lot of bravery for me to put that brace on everyday to support my left leg that was paralyzed by poliomyelitis in 1948. But, without it in place, I would be unable to walk unassisted without my crutches.

Endurance: For 64 years I have had to use all the strength and courage I have to make my day a better day. I was only 6 months old when I contracted the polio virus that made my life more challenging. It has been a way of life for my entire life. I never walked a step without a limp and have worn braces for all but 20 years of my life. From age 16 to 36 I was brace free. At age 36 my left knee could not support me because of lack of muscle and tendon strength.

Creativity: There isn’t anything I can not accomplish. It always takes me longer, but the task will be completed. I just have to figure out the best way to accomplish the undertaking. It might take 3 trips to transport groceries into the house instead of one. It may mean I have to take a break after I vacuum for half and hour. I simply revolve tasks until the day is done and I feel convinced that I did the unsurpassed I could do for that day.

All this and more are detailed in my recent book “All the Steps I Have Taken”. It is my journey through life with polio. Enjoy a short read and be inspired.

Go Above and Beyond or do Nothing? It’s your Choice.

Go Above and Beyond or do nothing?   It’s your choice.

Polio, Dad and daughter, Surviver, All the Steps,

Dad and me at ST. Mary’s

“I didn’t choose polio. I didn’t choose the crutches, cane, and braces; I chose to thrive.”  Thriving is what I did from as early as I can remember.  So little I was when polio had a chance to slow me down. I do not remember those days when my parents had to leave me at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota. How heart breaking it would have been for my young parents to come to visit me and I didn’t respond to them as my parents. My hospital stays were long and I am very sure the nurses did the best they could to provide the nurturing care that I needed as an infant, but there is nothing like a mother and fathers love.

It has always been, and continues today, that I do the very best I can with any task that I put in place. If something is worth doing, it is worth doing well.  My children dreaded summer when 4-H projects were due for the county fair. They didn’t care so much for the theory that I had about doing their project “right”. But “right” is what won Blue ribbons and a chance to advance to State fair.  Many State fair trips were won.  Now they look back and realize that “right” is the way to go. The best part is that now it is their choice and not mine.

polio, mom and me, All the Steps, family,

Mom and me at St. Mary’s Hospital

Now, as an adult, my physical limitations do make a difference in how I finish projects. They are still finished in the proper manner but it takes a lot more time and effort and it is hard for me to realize that I may not get it all done today. The sun will always come out tomorrow and deadlines can be managed by being extremely organized and focused. It is now possible for me to say “NO” on occasion if I think the project will be more difficult than I care to pursue.  Whatever handicap polio has left me with; polio will never claim my life or my spirit. My morning jump start with my prayer time and coffee always get off to a running start. “Life without God is like an unsharpened pencil.  It has no point.” I am going to keep my pencil very sharp.

I know that my family appreciates all that I can do for them.  Each day will begin with early morning phone calls from them with things I can do to help make their day more manageable. I always am most happy to be able to help them anyway that I can.

I chose to go above and beyond. What will you choose?

Annivarsary picture, polio, gathering

Christianson Family

Why Me?

God, All the Steps, Polio, strength, courage

picture from stock.xchng

God had a plan for my life from day one, it may not have been what I wanted it to be, but it was his plan and I was going to except it. God uses my life as an inspiration to all I encounter. With my attitude of, “I can do all things through him that strengths me”, I am showing my faith in God. Of course I didn’t realize that I was an inspiration to anyone until I was working in my last dental office. One of my doctors said to me “Do you realize that you are an inspiration to all you are working with?”  I never thought of myself as inspiration to anyone.

I was born to young parents who were able to give me all the opportunities I needed to be an inspiration to anyone I would encounter. My parents were so strong and had great courage in those early years when I was sick.  I’m not sure how they did it; leaving a small child at a hospital away from family, I’m sure it was harder for them than it was for me.

All the steps, Overcoming, polio, inspiring

picture from stock.xchng

 

I learned to handle the limitations that made it harder for me to navigate through my day.   From the beginning of my day when I put on my left leg brace, to the end of the day when I place it in the closet, I have to realize that it will be a fabulous day in spite of wearing that brace.  It’s heavy and I carry it around all day but, without it I could not do all that I am accomplishing.

I was blessed with a family of my own and was able to encourage them to be all that they could be. My children are all respectable community minded young people with families of their own.  I pray they will all make a difference in the lives of those they will meet.

Polio, All the steps, survivor, limitations, inspiring

picture from stock.xchng

Patience has become a very important attribute in making my day a success.  Without patience my day would not be as enjoyable as it is with all the activity that I manage to partake in.  I am so blessed to be able to do all the things I enjoy and love and can’t wait for the next day to start so I can do it all over again.