Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cruise Control

About a week ago, Wick and I returned from a Caribbean cruise. If you have never been on a cruise, start saving right now, and go on one. We love the whole experience.

A whole week of being pampered, eating gourmet food, never having to do dishes or make up the bed or clean the bathroom, sitting in the shade on deck with a good book, watching the deep deep blue ocean and the dolphins playing in the waves, and making new friends.

We fall quickly into the routine, eating breakfast at the buffet, snacking in the bistro on the promenade deck, playing Trivia of all sorts, exploring the various venues.

Each evening, we dress for dinner, and later go to the theater for some kind of show or entertainment.

On the last evening, we arrived early, as usual, to find good seats. A man I had never seen sat down in the seat next to me. A little later, he was joined by a man and a woman, and they fell into conversation. I couldn't help overhearing their discussion, filled with questions about electric scooters and electric wheel chairs. Since I have both, I uncharacteristically butted in on their conversation, and tried to answer some of their questions.

One thing led to another, and they began to confide about the man's wife, who is the woman's sister. She had been ill the whole cruise. After a few questions, Wick and I looked at each other. Her symptoms sounded so familiar: just like the symptoms I had three years ago. congestive heart failure. We talked a little before the show, then in more depth afterward.

After hearing what we had to say, they agreed that their family member was really sick, worse than they had imagined, and made plans to get her off the ship in a wheel chair, and then take her to the emergency room.

We offered to pray for them, and gave them our phone number with a request to let us know how she fared.

A couple of days ago, the husband called to tell us that when they arrived at the ER, she was rushed to surgery to have a liter of fluid drained from her pericardium, the sac that surrounds the heart. She was indeed suffering from heart failure, and is still in the hospital undergoing tests to determine the best course of treatment.

All of us agreed that God led us to sit side by side that night before the show, and to share our story. The husband feels that without our input, he might not have insisted that his wife seek treatment so quickly, since she was denying that anything was really wrong, even though she could hardly walk, and could not breathe lying down.

Even on a vacation, even on a cruise ship, God is in control, and can use us to help others. How thankful we are that He led us to those seats, and opened our hearts to share with this family. As Wick said, it hit us in the face without warning. At least this family knew ahead of time how bad things might be, and were able to get her to treatment.

Entertaining angels unawares...

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Book Review: WhenBad Things Happen to Good Knitters

Some time ago, (no, I won't say how long, it's too embarrassing) the Taunton Press sent me an exam copy of this book to review. I think it was because I had posted about knitting, and how much I respect the old crafts, knitting, crochet, quilting, embroidery.

Somehow, the book disappeared under a pile of other books, and just recently came to light again. In my house, this is a common occurence, since books are to be found in every room, on shelves, in stacks, or open face down in a chair.

The complete title is When Bad Things Happen to Good Knitters: An Emergency Survival Guide, by Marion Edmonds and Ahza Moore.

It's a handy little volume filled with all kinds of rescue advice, beginning with a chapter on emergency prevention.

It is well organized, with clear illustrations for how to retrieve dropped stitches, various methods of finishing, and all kinds of other knitting emergencies.

The one thing I did not like was the choice of pale green for Section headings. They are difficult to read for me.

This is not a book for beginning knitters. The authors assume some basic knowledge of knitting. So if you are just learning how to knit, there are better instructive books out there. But if you have basic knitting skills, this book can tell you how to overcome almost any error you might make.

I am barely above beginner knitter, and have only made things shaped like squares (for an afghan) or rectangles (baby blankets). I taught myself to knit from a book while pregnant with our first child. With this book as a companion, maybe I will spread my wings and try something a little more complex.

Even for an experienced knitter, this book has advice to offer, especially for someone who does not have a companion knitter to help resolve issues such as (mis)reading a pattern, or what to do if the sleeve of the sweater has somehow sprouted from the chest instead of the shoulder.

I recommend this book for knitters of any level.

Note: I do not receive any remuneration for this review, or for subsequent purchases of the product.