Thursday, July 07, 2016

The End of this Chapter

Thank you to those who have prayed for Michael's puzzling ailments over the years. We continue to pray for strength and healing, and yet, we  hear God say His grace is all we truly need. If His power is perfected in weakness - we welcome this platform of weakness.

Today, we received a determination letter from the Department of VA and we bring this part of our story to an end.  We have shared Michael's claim was expedited. We've been told by several they'd not seen a claim handled quite like ours. We were given an "interim rating" at 6 months, this allowed Michael to begin getting medical care in the VA system. We were then sent to see Gulf War Evaluators and they found the answers to the pesky health questions that have been growing for the past ten years.  The answers didn't lead to easy fixes, as we'd prayed, but again, just maybe we are to embrace this platform of weakness.  And here - at 8 months - we've received a final VA determination. I think they've done an excellent job; our claim was handled in a timely fashion, they gave us answers we didn't even fully know to search out and they've treated us fairly.

We are still reading through the packet they've sent, we may need help sorting it all out, but we are happy to be able to end the "VA Disability Claim"  chapter of retirement.

Receiving a disability rating is  one of those bittersweet moments in life... seeing the words permanent service-connected disabled veteran  in black and white is a bitter pill to swallow - but again God knows the platform He is building for us.

We KNOW God is not done with us yet. We KNOW He has a plan for the next 20 years, we have no idea what it will look like at this point - but we KNOW it's a good plan from the loving hands of a GOOD God.

Thank you for your prayers and advice during these months.

Clearing the Lane

We moved from an unfinished corner of the yard to work on the lane leading back to Mom G's home. We noted neighbors, mailman and we, ourselves, were having trouble sharing the lane which serves as a driveway.....the trees and brush had overgrown the fence and spilled into the road.....this narrowed the available width for traffic.   I realize this is the second week we've said we are working on the lane. Lest you wonder why five fairly energetic folks are taking so long.....First, we work with the physical limitations we have. We need lots of recovery days.  Second, this is a BIG job. The brush was 4 - 5 feet into the lane. On the yard side there is 15 - 20 feet of "extraneous" brush which we are clearing to find the lawn and garden spots.  I didn't take any before shots...but here are photos of the corner we have yet to clear.

We had hoped to finish this week. Stacia and I have some urgent wedding business in OR.....Tuesday, I was hauling a "branch" to the burn pile and felt my back spasm. I've hauled thousands, hundreds, lots of branches to the pile and not had a problem.  My solution was to stretch a bit and then go lop some trees down and drag them out of the jungle. I find satisfaction in this AND I thought it would stretch  my back. I could barely walk by the time we left Mom G's that night. I spent Wednesday in bed. Today, Michael is going to drive us up to OR for wedding this corner will have a weekend reprieve. 

In any event, clearing the lane has involved loppers, chainsaws, hedge trimmers, brush trimmers, weed whackers and pulling trees from power lines...The kids have been essential partners in this work of love. The boys do the heavy lifting, climbing, digging and chopping for Michael. Stacia helps outside and inside. She is great at assisting Mom G with her "projects."  I love how she's willing to slow down and move at Mom G's pace. The rest of us will be able to do more of that once the yard is manageable. We really want to make use of the nice days before the rains arrive. We'll have lots of time for visiting and inside projects this fall/winter.  

Boards from the bench Alex discovered on Saturday - resulting in the ER visit

Our hopes soared as we began to find the fence....see the white post....

It's not DONE,  but it will be next week.....We are starting to feel encouraged we can get the yard in shape and move in to help with the house before winter.  Two neighbors were great encouragers this week. Both stopped by to offer their expertise and knowledge of taming some of these native species. We heard one neighbor tell a visitor - "They've done so much work. The whole thing looked like that corner last week."

It may still look overgrown to you, but it's a thing of beauty to us. The hedge in the foreground was as tall as the trees and tangled in the power line....we can see a fence along the mailbox, and a gate which hasn't been seen in a long time.....there are still two trees to trim out of the power lines and that corner.....where you see the densest foliage used to be a garden spot.

But for today - we'll break and go make wedding dreams become a reality.