Then The Sky Fell In

My peace I leave with you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful” (John 14:27)

On 19 October I fell while working on my land. “Oh no!” I thought as I went down, too late to put out my hands. I heard my nose ‘crack’ as it hit the ground.

I sat up, hands to face to make sure I still had a nose. Yes – but there was blood running down the right side. Off to the house, where I stanched more blood with cold water, tissues and vitamin C, and lay down.

Later I found out my sight was affected – double vision when looking to the sides and down.  Considerably double, too – not just a ‘shadow’, but a full-blown double image, well offset.  It looked like the ‘jigsaw puzzle’ of my vision had blown apart at the sides.

At first I hoped it was swelling, and took arnica. After 2 weeks I gave in and drove with one eye shut to our local clinic.  It was my first drive out since the accident – my neighbor had kindly taken me shopping in the interim – and it was scary.

I was ambulanced down to the Emergency Department at Base Hospital (77 miles). There were blood samples, an ECG, 4 heart x-rays, umpteen lights shone in my eyes, nose and ears, many ‘touchy-feely’ tests to make sure I hadn’t had a stroke, and a CT head scan.

Up to the eye clinic next morning for more shining lights.  An MRI head scan was ordered, since the CT scan showed nothing. My right eye was clearly not tracking properly.  This is a bad experience for anyone, but especially so for a visual artist.

I went back down the line for the MRI scan on the 9th, and again this last week for the results. That was the scary part.

On the way down in the shuttle bus, as I prayed I got the message, “I am with you, no harm will befall you.” And so it has been. The MRI scan showed nothing. The eye specialist thinks there is a small speck of blood somewhere that will resolve itself, given time. They don’t want to see me for 3 months – Whew!

Thank you, Lord for your goodness and mercy! Thank you for giving me a specialist who is prepared to let You do Your work. Bless your Holy name!

Digital artwork, from acrylic paintings.

Patricia

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After The Tempest

after-iiconIt’s just over a fortnight since my roof got barrelled by a tree.  At the time, I looked at the damage and wondered if the place would ever be the same again.

The guttering, the fascia and the soffit were smashed, and three runs of roofing iron bashed out of shape.  One of my rafters was damaged, and the top of a sheet of gib board inside the main bedroom had been cracked.

As I said in the earlier Tempest post, the damage was a whole lot less than it could have been, and when I think of the 3 ranchsliders above, 2 large windows below, the deck, and the deck railing all unharmed, I was and still am so grateful.

I got in touch with a roofer who lives over the road, and he got in touch with a builder.  But before they came, I had the arborist back to deal with another tree behind the house that was potentially even more dangerous than the Banksia had been – one of 5 fancy conifers planted by my parents in the 70’s on the edge of a stand of cryptomerias.

Four of these conifers were already gone – one blown naturally and three others I got taken down about 9 months ago.  But THIS conifer was the big problem.  It was as tall as the cryptos, had all its weight on the outside – ie facing the house, and being in close proximity to the roof was definitely not going to be easy to deal with.

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It would be perfectly true to say the tree came down exactly where it was planned to fall.  But that bland statement overlooks the breath-stopping display of tree climbing and branch cutting that preceded the final felling. It was at this point, when I looked up from the back porch at the naked trunk of this tree, that I truly realised how dangerous it was.  (The bottom of the trunk in this photo is masked by fallen branches.)

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A cable had been run from the trunk, through a pulley attached to a tree on the opposite corner of the garden and down the side of the house to a vehicle that would exert a pull in the right direction.

A scarf was cut, wedges were placed, and with the final cut and co-ordinated pull from the cable, the tree went down as planned.  Thank you, AB Trees, for a magnificent job!

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Over the following days, the buider and roofer came and went, getting in supplies, stripping off the house debris, and rebuilding the damaged section of the roof.  The builder is coming back to do a small cladding job for me on the back of the house, and to take away the building rubbish. I am very pleased with the job they did.

Men will be coming to cut up the trees and take them away for firewood.  As usual, I’m not sure exactly when.  (Aaargh!)    Meantime the back and front gardens are like a bomb site – full of fall-out and ringed trunks.  And I’m supposed to be getting this place ready to put on the market!

Trust in the Lord…

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One of the great things about this whole episode is that it has put me in touch with some good tradesmen.   Well – “In all circumstances give thanks…”  (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

And at least when the wind blows I don’t have that worry anymore.

Patricia

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The Tempest

tempest-iiconThe September (spring) equinox is approaching.  Equinoxes for us are times of strong gales.  Well, it’s started already.  We have just had about 3 days of very strong winds and rain.  Never a good combination.

On Friday night things came to a head.  As I sat up in bed at about 9pm reading, I heard the unmistakable sound of a tree folding up – the crackling, the slow whoosh.    This was followed by several very loud thumps and bangs.

A tree had fallen, most probably on my roof.

It was very dark and to be quite honest, I was almost afraid to go look – afraid of what I might see.  I live alone, so no-one else to send, no ‘moral support’.  Except for the Lord.

I picked up courage and the small torch.  It felt a bit like ‘putting on the armor’ (Ephesians 6: 13 -17).  Venturing out through the carport, I could just make out a great deal of foliage piled up against the lower house wall about 10 feet from where I had been sitting.  Something above banged from time to time in the wind.  Obviously, the main damage would be up there, and I wasn’t going to investigate.  At least the rain had stopped for the meantime.  “Get back inside”, I thought, “there’s nothing you can do right now.”

A swallow from under the carport decided morning had come and fluttered about my head, drawn by the torchlight.   It flew with me into the entrance hall, so I shut off the house light and went outside again, hoping it would follow.  It did – whew!  Nice to have the company, though, in a time of stress – a message from the Holy Spirit, perhaps.  “Yea, the swallow has found her a nest and the sparrow a place where she may lay her young –  even at thine altars, O Lord.”  (Psalm 84:3)    I really shouldn’t let these birds nest in my carport, but I do.

Back into bed.  The only thing to do is wait on the dawn – and seek His face.  With all my heart I reminded The Father that He was still on the throne and very much in charge (He didn’t need that reminder, but I sure did).  I prayed that whatever had happened, I would thank Him for his mercy and see His hand in the event.  I prayed that the rain would hold off (more forecast for Saturday).   I carried on praying in this vein and finally fell asleep.

Morning came.  At least the wind had dropped.  I felt strangely calm – if a bit shattered.  Gathering up courage again I went outside, asking the Lord to be with me.

Oh yes – it wasn’t good:

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Photo taken 7.30am – I have outlined the upper foliage of the tree.

What next?  It’s Saturday morning.  I have no insurance, so can’t ring a company and hand the issue over to someone else to deal with.  Just hope I can afford this without totally running through my small reserve of funds!

Something had to be done right away.  It was still only about 7.30am and it sure didn’t feel good to ring people at that hour on a Saturday.  But I rang my neighbour over the road, who has agreed to do some paid chainsaw work for me.  No reply, so I left a message.  Then I rang an old friend down the road.  He was out but I got his partner.  She was brilliant – gave me the names of an arborist (new to the district) and a roofer.

I rang the arborist and he came right away.  A very nice guy called Brian Fletcher of A B Trees, with heaps of experience and an ethic of service to the customer.  What a nice change!  What a miracle – it can be very hard to pin down contractors up here, as my father found over 40 years ago and I have found many times since.  It’s something to do with fishing and boating, and trying to stack up as many jobs as possible :-).

Chopping branches as he went, Brian walked up the trunk onto the roof and started cutting back up there to get the weight off.  The root ball was then supposed to lift the tree slightly and make it easier to deal with.  That didn’t work and he found this very tall Banksia tree in fact had precious little root run.  Thank goodness I hadn’t known THAT over the years!

Brian mounted his next strategy from the veranda, cutting back stubs and branches further down.  One nasty moment came when the tree settled slightly, but in fact it couldn’t move very far.

Then back down to ground level where Brian said the only option now was to undercut the trunk, and let the top part fall. hoping it would not do damage on the way.

I told him I was going to pray, and shot into the house praying strongly, calling upon the Lord to have His hand on this last episode.  The chainsaw howled.  Then silence, followed by two loud bangs.

Back outside, I peeped round the corner.  Brian was smiling.  “You did well there,” he said, “It dropped just where it was supposed to and fell neatly parallel to the house.”  Glory Be!!

He took out a silver fir I had foolishly planted nearby, years ago, and ringed up the trunk of the Banksia.  Then we went to have a look at another problem tree that he’s going to deal with next week.   It was all over by 11am.

I can’t count the number of things I need to be grateful for.

Although there is damage to the roof, guttering and soffit, that is actually in quite a good place for repairs.  The concrete veranda and wooden railing are unharmed and not a single pane of glass was broken.  Truly amazing for a house that has 3 ranchsliders all along the front upstairs, and two large windows down below.

Praise You, Heavenly Father!  Not only for your hand on the accident and the clean up, but also for sending such a good contractor!  Please go with me now on the next stage…

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”  (2 Timothy 1:7)

“It was good for me to be afflicted
    so that I might learn your decrees.”   (Psalm 119:71)

And it still hasn’t rained.

Patricia

http://damascusroad.news

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And He Shall Reign in Miracles

he-shall-reign-iconThis afternoon, I have a personal miracle to report.  Yesterday – just over 24 hours ago – I was kicked in the leg by a horse.  I saw this coming one millisecond before he lashed out, so no time to take evasive action.  The force of the kick knocked me to the ground.

This is a young colt, recently gelded, so he still has plenty of spunk.  As I lay in the grass my first thought was “Is my leg broken?”   I am no way a teenager, so the concern was very, very real to me.  As we get older, if we don’t watch out, the world fills our minds with all kinds of negative expectations about the deterioration of our bodies.

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Cautiously, and shaking like a leaf, I got up – Hallelujah, I can stand, and put a little weight on it.  I opened a gate to move the horses into fresh pasture, then limped slowly back down to the house.

My first reaction was to thank the Lord for saving me from a worse outcome.  Broken leg?  Hospitalisation?  Wait a minute, I live alone and have animals to look after – can’t afford to be sidelined.  Don’t need a broken leg, either.

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I put some iodine on the wound (on the front of the lower leg below the knee and right on the bone) but the knee had obviously taken a serious jolt.  This knee used to give me trouble as a hill walker, and it was hurting more than the wound, which was starting to swell up like an egg.  I tried to pull an elastic sleeve over my foot to support the knee, and that caused excruciating pain up in the side of the joint.   Humm…   Deciding against the elastic, I got out a full length crepe bandage and put that on.

I knew from past experience that this would probably hurt more the next day than it was hurting then, so I resolved to get some shopping done right away.  Praying for help and support and still a bit shaky, I drove the 5 miles to our nearest shops and – thank goodness for the Lord, automatic transmission and supermarket trollies – managed to do shopping.

Night fell.  The leg seemed uncomfortable wherever I put it, but somehow with the help of a pillow I managed to get it reasonably rested – and fell asleep!  I slept the night straight through (unusual for me).

Today I’m hobbling around on an old walking stick – not without pain, I might say.  I’ve spent a good part of the day on the bed, with my leg up.  The swelling at the site of the wound has gone down.  The knee has swelled with some bruising beginning to show at the sides, and it is very painful to put weight on.  But altogether an amazing miracle, especially when I think of all the hassle and drama that would have gone on had my leg been broken (my nearest hospital is over 70 miles away, for a start).

So what comes out of this experience?  The most important thing I think is being granted to SEE it as a miracle.     The lesson lies in 1 Thessalonians 5:18:

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

I believe that being aware of the Lord’s presence on a daily basis, and being ready and willing to find reason to give thanks no matter what, is a key to seeing His work in our lives.  Saint Paul knew this – it’s a lot better than grumbling about what happened.

More about that next time.

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Artwork: acrylic on paper, capital painted in gold ink. – Artwork and Products available in my Damascus Road Gallery.  Or click on images.

Patricia

http://damascusroad.news

 

 

 

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