Saturday, March 22, 2014

Attitudes of the Mind, Heart and Soul PT I

Perception is everything. The way I view my situation has much to do with the direction of my attitude.
Whether I am content or dismayed, anxious or at peace is directly connected to what I perceive as truth. Do I see myself as a hopeless victim or believe I will overcome my problem?

“…when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more….It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart".

These are not the words of someone who had a heated argument with a spouse, was falsely accused by a friend, loss a promotion to a less qualified co-worker or suffered some other fairly common injustice that can send one into a tail spin. No, these words are excepts taken from the personal diary of Anne Frank, a 15-year-old German -Jewish teenager whose family was forced to go into hiding during the Holocaust. After being discovered, they were deported and imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp.

Because of her courageous attitude, Anne’s story has inspired and encouraged the hearts of countless thousands. Her diary has been translated into many languages and is said to be one of the most widely read books in the world.

In the midst of imprisonment, surrounded by torment, disease and death, Anne decided to have faith that something good could still happen. She made a conscious effort to focus her thoughts on the good; in spite of what her eyes saw or her ears heard.

God has given much instruction concerning our thought life.
Isaiah 57:7 admonishes the wicked to forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts in order to return to the Lord. Forsake. That sounds easy, but is it? It takes practice, but it starts with purposely replacing the problem with the promise.

“Finally my brother, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things (fix your minds on them.)
Phil 4:8 AMP

Our thoughts are like a steering wheel leading us to a positive or negative destination. On days when I just can’t seem to kick a bad disposition, if I examine my thoughts I quickly find the real issue—it's not the person who I thought made me angry, it's not the bill that I am not able to pay on time. The issue is I have chosen to focus more on the issue than God's faithfulness to victoriously get me through it.

Anne realized her ideals seemed absurd, yet she said, “...I cling to them....” Much more so, I must cling to the Word of God no matter how absurd it seems. It changes my perception and my attitude.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Is There Anything Too Hard for God?

Circumstances have a way of commanding our undivided attention; of being the loudest, most persistent voice--especially in the midst of difficulty—a sick loved one, a wayward child, a lost opportunity, increased responsibilities or a sudden, seemingly hopeless occurrence. It’s the infamous struggle of the what ifs.

The thoughts of what could, would, or should happen projects repeatedly, without commercial interruption, across the big screen of the mind. Sleepless nights tossing and turning into the wee hours accompany the unrestrained mind, relentless in its attempt to make everything fit into a neat, sensible package.

The apostle Paul, in Romans 8:5 calls this the mind of the flesh. “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh ….” This way of reasoning is the enemy of all that is good and profitable. It leads only to death.

In times of trouble, we have to decide early what we believe about the situation. It’s a matter of choosing which voice gets the attention; the voice of circumstances, the voice of reason, or the voice of truth. Once we have settled the issue of what we believe, that belief will dictate our responses and ultimately the outcome.

Take another look at Romans 8. Paul doesn’t just present the problem; the solution follows in verse 6, “…but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”

At one hundred years old, Abraham and his ninety-year-old wife, Sarah were long past child-bearing years. Yet, God promised them a son. Can’t you just see Abraham’s head going tilt? Sarah laughed at the very thought of it.

As much as Abraham couldn’t understand how such a thing could be possible, he had learned from past mistakes not to no longer take matters into his own hand. It was decision time. He could either consider the pros and cons, along with all the possibilities and improbabilities of the circumstances, or crawl into the arms of God and trust Him to be bigger than the odds. 

To his credit, Abraham chose the latter. He chose to look away from his frail deteriorating frame and Sarah’s lifeless womb and all that he could see with his natural eye. Turning instead, his full attention to the promise, he dug his withered, aged heel in the ground, hoped against hope and believed that God was well able to do what He said.

Armed with an unwavering faith, Abraham was able to silence the voice of reason, placing all hope in God, Who gives life to the dead. His reward? Abraham not only fathered a son with Sarah, but became the father of many nations –and to all who simply believe.

All scripture is from New King James Version.

Monday, January 27, 2014

God's Not "Doing" Anything

I sat as far in the corner as I could, hoping to escape any traffic that might come into the room. The lights were down low with only a ray of sun peeking through the window overlooking the well-manicured gardens. Thankful that we worked in a place with a chapel, usually two or three others, hoping to get a break from the workday hubbub, ventured in during lunch.

Some people are regenerated by being with other people. Though some of my friends might say different, I am more the introvert, who regenerates by getting alone and especially alone with God.  The chapel is where I spent most lunch hours. On this day, I had left my cubicle just in time to beat the one o’clock regulars and had gotten to sit in my favorite seat.

Ahhhh. Lord, this is so good.  Generally I came with a list of things I wanted to talk to God about; questions that needed answers, wisdom for a specific project, intervention for a co-worker or family member. But this time, I came with no agenda at all. I just wanted to hang out with God. No formalities today, Lord. I just want to be with You.

As if to prepare God for something He didn’t know was coming, I said, "God,today I am just going to talk to you like my best friend."  I paused to think how I would normally start a conversation with a girlfriend. "So...God….what’cha doing?"

I honestly believed that when I drew close to God, He drew close to me. But I went into this discourse with the intent of just speaking directly out of my heart to God, expecting nothing more than the warm, comforting sense of His presence that normally accompanied our times together.
Yes, I even believed that when I listened, God spoke to me, just not necessarily to my natural understanding. But this time, God had something else in mind. By the time I got to the end of the sentence, I heard a response. Not out loud, but from the inside out. I didn’t have time to think it myself, yet it came like a thought.

"I’m not doing. I AM."

"What? Wow!" I said it out loud before I could stop myself.  I didn’t know whether I was more surprised that I heard an answer so clearly, or that He answered at all.
Excitement rose in my heart. I looked around to see if anybody was paying attention, or maybe they heard it too. Denton, one of the other one o’clock regulars was kneeling by a chair on the other side of the room. He didn’t move. A group of three ladies were praying together in the back. Everyone was pre- occupied with their own thing; God had spoken directly to me.

Okay, this is good, God. But what do you mean? Knowing I had a tendency to be a bit impetuous, I did not want to assume I understood. This time, I wanted to really understand what God meant, not just what He said.

I'm not doing. I AM? I sat there trying to recall the "I AM" statements in the bible.

I remembered when Moses wanted to tell the children of Israel the name of the One who sent Him as their deliverer. They were in great distress and had been for hundreds of years. Their future, if they had one at all, looked bleak, to say the least. God simply replied, "Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’"

I sat there, pondering, and waiting. I begin to realize something. That covers every need they had—not just in their present situation, but every need they would ever have…forever. I wiggled around in my chair, my body flushed with exhilarating heat. What I had only read about before was becoming alive in my heart.

I think I get it! God is I AM!!! His work is finished. He's not waiting for something to happen so He can go find a way to fix it. The mere fact that He exists eternally, with ALL power, and pure love has already settled every issue—for them, and for us now. 

And through Christ, He has given us a blank check from His heavenly account of endless resources, endorsed with His own blood—it can’t bounce. And He is saying to His children, "What do you need?" If it’s according to My Word, just fill in the blank.

He’s saying, If you’re sick, I AM…Jehovah Rapha; feeling unworthy, I AM…Jehovah Tsidkenu, your righteousness; Are you disturbed? I AM…Jehovah Shalom, your peace; No really, I AM!

That’s not your problem? No worries, there’s more. Whatever, whenever, whoever your problem, I AM has already covered it--now and forever!

I turned toward the window allowing the sunrays to bathe my face. My lunch break was ending far too soon. Looking at my watch, I took a deep, contented breath and walked quickly back to my department.

1 Exodus 3:14 NASB

Thursday, January 9, 2014

30 Steps and waiting (formerly Independence Day)

It’s July 3, 2009. At once chills and electricity surge through me at the sight of him standing up for the first time in eleven months. 

After looking down at my son in an ICU hospital bed for so long, tubes and IV’s coming from every orifice in his body, I have longed to look up at his six feet, two inch frame towering over me again.

Almost a year ago, August 8, 2008 the phone startled me awake. Reaching over to answer, my eyes still half shut, I noticed the New York area code and the time—5:38 a.m.

This can’t be good news this early in the morning. Calm down, don’t jump to conclusions. Bracing myself, I whispered a micro-second prayer and answered in the same breath. The voice on the other end was near hysteria, "I’m so, so sorry Ms. Stokes. Michael has been in a fire and they don’t think he is going to make it."

Traci, Michael’s girlfriend worked the overnight shift at the hospital. Her shift was almost over when the paramedics rushed Michael into the emergency room. During the night, his apartment had caught fire. By the time he awoke from sleep, he was already overcome by smoke. The fireman found him collapsed and unresponsive by the back door. The small upstate hospital, they did what they could to resuscitate him, but decided they were not equipped to handle his complex situation.

By the time Traci called, they were waiting for a helicopter to transport Michael to University Hospital. Soon my flight from Missouri to New York was scheduled. I threw a few things into a suitcase and headed out the door for the 6-hour flight. Oh Lord please, don’t let me be too late.

The last time Michael and I had spoken, we talked about him moving closer to home. For the first time it sounded like he might consider it—I surely had complained enough about him being so far away. His answer had always been the same, "I’m alright, momma. I can take care of myself—But I love you."

"I know son. I love you too. But remember just because you’re grown doesn’t mean you don’t need your family. No man is an island."

"I just don’t want to have to depend on anybody, momma. I got some things I want to work out first." Seems he always had something to prove.

"Uh huh. You just scared I can still beat you at wrestling." We both laughed. Wrestling is a strange sport for a mom and son but we liked it, so we wrestled all the time.

I was eighteen when Michael was born. At times, we were like big ole’ kids growing up together. I would put on my old sweat pants and sneak up behind him to catch him off guard. Trying to hold him down got pretty hard but it was fun trying. The best part was the laughing. Besides, it was cheaper than a gym membership. When he was younger, I would let him win to build his confidence. As he got older, I have a feeling he reciprocated.

I think single mommas just have a different bond with their kids from the beginning. At four or five years old, Michael would run around the house in his underwear jumping off the sofa and playing his favorite episode of GI Joe. Being an only child, I was just thankful he could be so content entertaining himself for hours at a time.

I‘d wolf whistle at his cute little boy legs, embarrassing him as only a mother can. He’d giggle and run into the bathroom to hide, insisting I throw in a pair of pants. It wouldn’t be a couple minutes before he was out, smiling from ear to ear and playing again.

Twenty five years later, he is awake from a two-month drug-induced coma to discover he is missing some parts-- one of his beautiful boy legs and one foot has been amputated.

But at least he is awake. The doctors thought he wouldn't live. "And if he does live, he'll be a vegetable, totally dependent on others the rest of his life." Yet after severe smoke inhalation, brain damage, two cardiac arrests, lung collapse, seven surgeries, kidney failure, and sepsis he is awake and recovering.

"He must be a fighter," the doctor says each morning, shaking his head, surprised he has made it through another night. Although it has taken seven surgeries, overcoming a series of ugly, unrelenting infections and too many other complications to mention, the one remaining toeless foot is finally stable. Today, he will try out the prosthetic leg and foot for the first time.

Back in ICU, it had been four months before he was stable enough to move to the rehabilitation floor with a new team of doctors and start intensive therapy. The therapist worked to strengthen the residual leg in hopes that Michael would walk again.

Reluctant at first to approve Michael for a prosthetic, his group of doctors implied I was just an unrealistic mother under the influence of wishful thinking. "There is a concern that with the amount of brain damage your son has sustained, it's doubtful that he'll know what to do with a prosthetic. Getting the handle on using a prosthetic can be challenging even for those without brain injury."

I often wondered if some of the doctors knew how to be positive about anything at all. But Michael’s primary, Dr. Ward was kind; a woman probably in her late thirties with a pleasing bed-side manner. When she came by for rounds each morning, underneath those square frame glasses and tightly wrapped, midnight-black hair, I could sense her genuine compassion.

She would place her hand gently on my shoulder as she spoke. Even so, her responsibility was to make the recommendation that had been agreed upon by her team of colleagues. Still, I objected.

"But how will we know if we don’t try" I argued. "What would you do if it were your son?"

Pausing to weigh my question for a moment, she responded. "I still don’t know that under the circumstances, it will be approved, but I will write the order to have one made."

The process would take several weeks. In the meantime, Michael continued doing therapy to strengthen his body and legs. Four weeks passed before Dr. Ward had any information about the approval.

When she came in with the news, she fidgeted, searching for a tactful way to break the news. The brief moment of pause felt like an hour. I thought I would reach in and pull the words out of her mouth if she didn’t say something quick.

Finally her mouth opened. "I’ve got good news and well… sorta bad news too".

"Okay." Just tell me what it is. Say it, say it!

"The prosthetic has been approved."

"Thank God, that’s great!" What’s the rest?

"Michael’s insurance for therapy has met its limit. Unfortunately, he is going to have to leave the hospital."

"But he isn’t well enough to come home, where would he go?"

"You will have to decide on a long-term care facility for him. There are a couple of nursing homes in the area you might want to look into."

Nursing home? "My son is only 31-years old" The thought was not to be considered as far as I was concerned. "I don’t want him in a place where he is going to just exist, I want him to be someplace where he will get the aggressive treatments he needs to continue to get better."

My mind reeled trying to understand how they could just put him out of the hospital. "If I put him in a nursing home, he won’t make it."

She looked at me wishing she had a better offer. "I don’t know of any other options."

"Then I will just have to find one. We have come too far to settle now."

Refusing to accept her solution, I begin to look for options that would allow for continued efforts to be made toward Michael’s recovery. I remembered a woman I had met several months before.

She was passing out her business card for the facility she represented. At the time, Michael was still in ICU, his life hanging in the balance. We were living life in the moment, simply thankful for next. The little I heard her say about the facility sounded interesting so I tucked her card in my wallet and forgot about it.

While searching the internet for a suitable option to a nursing home, I came across a facility that specialized in brain injuries for people of all ages. The name sounded familiar, but I wondered how that could be since I knew nothing about the area.

Suddenly it dawned on me this was the same place the woman who was passing out business cards had told me about. I searched my wallet hoping I still had her card. There it was, lodged between my postage stamps and hospital ID.

After a few phone calls, interviews and endless paperwork, they agreed to take Michael’s case. They would let me know when a bed could be ready. Since I had found a place, the hospital extended the time until we could leave.

In a few weeks we were headed for the North East Center for Special Care. After several more months of making proposals, waiting for approvals, meetings with the prosthetist, fittings, trial and error, the prosthetic was ready…

… and the day has come for Michael to try it out. The physical therapist has told me that at this point, all she wants to do is see if he can stand.

As we leave Michael’s room and head for the gym, the long, wide, decorated halls seem especially bright. We encounter the usual activity. Some of the neighbors, as they call the residents, are making a beeline to the back patio for their morning smoke. A couple guys are bartering for cigarettes in the corner.

Others are headed to the laundry room to do a load of laundry before all the machines are filled. Only the "higher- functioning" neighbors get to do their own laundry but lately there have been more people than usual.

Conversation is lively, everybody has somewhere to go. An employee rushes past us to diffuse a situation between two neighbors yelling at the top of their lungs down by the elevator.

We can’t be distracted. Michael is still healing cognitively and I am not sure how much he grasps the full magnitude of being able to stand again. But he senses something.

Lately he has been unmotivated; today, he has a fresh spark of enthusiasm. Although he has asked me three times since we left the room, where we are going, he isn’t waiting for me to push him down the hall. He is using his arms to propel his wheelchair on his own. We arrive for the appointment on time.

Without delay, Michael is rolled up to the parallel bars in the large therapy room. Edna, the physical therapist and her assistant place safety belts around his waist to help steady him. Edna is on his left side, the assistant on his right.

I’m standing off to the side trying to stay collected, my video camera in hand. Edna first explains to Michael how to grip the bars and how to position his body. She tells him to stand only as long as he can and then sit, assuring him that if he doesn’t go all the way up, it’s okay. "Just do as much as you can, try to hold it if you can, and sit back down."

Because of the brain injury, Michael needs some help remembering the steps, so she repeats them one by one allowing him to follow as she goes along. He puts his hand on the bar, and begins to push himself forward. He goes up a short distance from the chair and sits back down immediately.

Edna checks for positioning, the belts, the handrail, the prosthetic leg, the chair. She asks Michael if he feels any pain. "I’m alright." Still his answer for everything.

"Can you try it again, son?" I ask. Without answering he reaches for the bars and soon he is coming out of the chair, going higher, still higher until he is fully standing. I look up at him and smile, releasing a sigh of relief. He is standing and we are clapping and rejoicing. Several other therapists with their patients on the other side of the room turn to see what all the commotion is about. Some of them start to applaud too.

Michael is still standing, the therapist says, "Do you think you could take a couple steps?" Without hesitation, tightly strapped into the support belt around his waist and gripping the handrails for dear life, he staggers one foot forward. My heart is literally racing! From the time he slowly lifts his leg to the time he places it on the floor feels like eternity.

His whole body, every muscle is engaged, awakening from its slumbered state. He takes another step, and another—and then, ANOTHER STEP! Everyone is silent, suspended in time. I don’t think we’re breathing.

His lips clinched, Michael’s face is filled with determination. Drops of perspiration are starting to form on his face. His chest rises as he takes a well-deserved deep breath. He’s off again, one methodical step after another until his tall narrow frame, a fraction of his former weight, is completely at the end of the parallel bars.

"Fifteen steps." Edna announces as if she has walked the bars herself. We all begin to applaud again and congratulate Michael on his accomplishment. Edna looks around at me and grins. "I would have been happy with just a step. This is great!" Michael has exceeded her expectations. I recall the scripture that says, God does exceedingly, abundantly above all we can ask or think.

This is an "exceedingly, abundantly above" moment. Adrenaline is rushing through every fiber of my being and it must be contagious because before he can sit down, Edna says. "Well…you want to sit or do you want to try it again?"

This was his first time walking in almost a year, and he is noticeably exhausted so I am shocked at her question. Still I remain quiet on the side lines waiting for his response—which is the biggest shock of all. Evidently, the adrenaline has gotten to him too.

His voice barely above a whisper, "Do it again."

They wheel him back to the front of the parallel bars, let him sit down for a minute, and up he goes. After a few wobbles to gets his balance and a second wind, he slowly raises his foot and methodically places it in position. The extra weight of the prosthetic leg is cumbersome.

Every step takes all the strength he can muster. Soon he is at the end of the bars again—a total of thirty steps. The whole room explodes with applause.

Now I'm thinking about how much in life we take for granted.

Friday, November 29, 2013

How God Povides Rest


Bamm! The metal door slammed shut just as Michael dosed off to sleep. He sat straight up in bed. I could see he was trying to figure out where he was. Over a year had passed since the fire. Michael was still recovering in the nursing home, slash rehabilitation center from anoxic brain injury. At 33 years old, he was like a child again in some ways; in others, as stubborn as an old man.

Propped up in a tattered speckled recliner in his room, I had been waiting for him to dose off long enough for me to slip out for the night. It was easier to leave while he slept—for him and for me. He had been half asleep, fully clothed, including his coat.

“Son, let’s go ahead and get you washed up and in your PJs for the night.”

“Whhy, mom-ma?” Confusion framed his expression. “Where… aam I?” His words came out slower since the accident.  He paused and looked around as if seeing the room for the first time.

 “I doon’t… live here!”

I cleared my throat trying to remove the pain I felt for him from my voice. “Son, this is where you live for now.”
“But whyyy can’t I live wheere yoou live?”
He didn’t realize, we were both far from home.  We had come to the area seeking a place that specialized in brain injury. Strangers had taken me.  I was always searching for an inspirational word to get through one of his moments.

“Things will work out soon, son.” He wrapped his overcoat tight and crawled back into bed.
Michael’s mind perceived the noise outside his room as danger. He consistently declined therapy, food, showers and medication. There was conversation about moving him to the nursing home section because he was no longer participating in therapy.

I needed to get him home where he could spend his energy healing instead of protecting himself. I spoke with the department heads. They agreed to discharge, but warned me that accessible housing was rare find in the area and could take a year.
“We don’t have a year!” I objected, desperate to get back some form of normality.” I was thinking in time for Christmas.”

“But this is October 1st,” said the discharge planner.

“I know. I will find it myself if I have to.” I began looking immediately… and found nothing. If anything could help me stay positive, a good bible verse could. I kept my bible close and reminded myself often of how God had provided for us so far.

One morning I found an ad that caught my attention. Open House Today, New Apartments with 1, 2 and ½ bedrooms available. That’s strange? I picked up the phone to call, mostly out of curiosity. The realtor, Dawn answered.
“I think you made a typo in your ad.” I said.

“Thanks for bringing that to my attention.” She chuckled. ‘So, are you coming to the open house?”
“No. I’m looking for an accessible apartment. I just called to tell you about the mistake.”

“We have accessible apartments.”

“Are you serious?!!!”

“4 units.”

Scribbling some directions on a crumpled napkin, I hurried out the door. Dawn told me the first contractor abandoned the project and a new contractor had just decided to finish it.

“When will they be ready?”

“Around the first of the year.”
“Hmmm…. Any chance you would allow someone to move in earlier?”

“How early?”

“But, we’ll still be doing construction in December.”

“I really needed a home for my son… as quick as possible.”

“Well…you’ll need two month’s rent plus the deposit.”
Knowing it was more than I had, I continued my appeal. “I’m really trusting God to make a way for us.”

Her forehead wrinkled. Clearly, she didn’t understand my Christian dogma.
“I guess I could talk to the owners.”

In a few days, Dawn called. “The owner will let you move in December and since we will still be doing construction, there’s no first month’s rent.”

Hers words were fresh air in my lungs. We moved into our apartment on December 1st. It wasn’t until later in the evening when I knew Michael finally felt the peace that comes from being home.

I was reclining in the speckled chair when I heard him coming toward the living room. He rolled himself to threshold and peeked around the corner. I looked up to see him completely undressed, down to his underwear. He smiled.

“G-good night, mom…ma.”




Monday, December 3, 2012

Only 11 days left

The renovations are on schedule to start this weekend. Eleven days before we load up the trailer, board the train and head south. Yay! Best case scenario; the renovations go off without a hitch AND on time, and the wheelchair fits through the doors. I don't even want to consider the worse case. Besides that, who has time to worry? Much too much to do.  Note to self...don't forget to order a portable wheelchair ramp. We'll need that to get from the garage into the house. Maybe later I'll look into something more permanent.

I have spent the last couple of weeks deciding on flooring and paint colors. In addition to making some doors wider, the contractor will also be pulling up carpeting in the designated accessible bedroom to lay some wood flooring. Hard non-skid surfaces are preferred for wheelchair use, not only because it’s easier to roll the chair but also safer.  Keep in mind that I am doing all this long distance, making my selections from New York and coordinating the purchases in Arkansas.

The good news is the home improvement store in my now town has a store in my new town. The not so good news is the wood flooring that was in most of the rooms by the sellers is now discontinued. So the search is on for something that is as similar as possible.

I also want to do a different wall color in the accessible bedroom. The current color is nice but much too dark unless you want to sleep all day. Hmmm. Oh...sorry. I drifted off for a minute. Colors, right?  I like the colors in most of the other rooms and even the green kitchen cabinets don’t bother me too much. It might be because I am just too tired to fight it. In any case, it will be fine for now. I am just looking forward to moving in and getting settled for the first time in four years.



Friday, November 23, 2012

And the winner is...

After months of planning, I finally made my out of state trip to Arkansas to find the right house that meets our accessibility needs.  And oh, what a trip!  From arrangements for my son’s care during my absence falling through one day before my scheduled flight, to getting locked out of the house where I was staying during my trip and having to drive to the other side of town with a strange man in my pajamas, to a five hour delay at O’Hare airport due to dangerous high winds….let’s just say the trip was eventful.
Looking for the right house in two days was an event all by itself—quite a marathon. After looking at somewhere around thirty houses, I decided on one that is not new, not exactly old, but sort of in between. (See previous post for more discussion on new versus old construction) The house was built in 1980, but has been updated recently so it is move-in ready, minus a few minor modifications.

We will have to have some doors made wider and possibly reconfigure the bathroom a bit, but the house is otherwise wheelchair friendly.

There really weren’t a lot of options to choose from in the area, but I could see that of the newer houses that were being built, some were going with a more universal design , also mentioned a previous post. Since my move is planned for December, I chose not to wait for something to be built.

I did meet with a contractor to consider the possibilities of building, but given the cost per square foot to build, I would have to compromise on the size of the home. It was easier and less expensive to find the square footage I wanted at the price I wanted in an existing home.

Now that I have found the house, I am now waiting on all the closing process. Some delay is built in to factor in the Thanksgiving holiday, but I am hoping to be done with closing by Dec 7th. At that point the contractor will come in and do his magic and we will begin our long awaited exodus from New York to our new home in Arkansas.

Bathroom link;
Widen door link;,,1192147,00.html