Recognizing Blessings When You’re In Pain

By Ellen Andersen

I lost my balance last week and stuck my left arm out break my fall. It was 10:30 at night, so I took some Tylenol and went to bed, even though it hurt a lot.  The pain woke me up an hour before my alarm was to go off, so I knew I needed medical help. Not knowing how bad it was, I drove to the nearest urgent care center. urgent-care-sign-600x295[1]

I did break my fall so my head didn’t hit the floor, but I broke my left wrist as well. I’m left-handed too. Fortunately I eat with my right hand. Otherwise, it’d be even harder. You don’t realize how much you use both hands  until only one works.  I know first-hand.

Even something as basic as getting dressed involves two hands. I can’t cook, water the garden, or  drive (and that affects a LOT in life), until my wrist heals, which will take several weeks. I love my plants and flowers so I really hate that.

Thankfully, I have several people helping me. One of my neighbors brought dinner over the first week I injured myself.sinner Sharon made when I broke my wrist  She volunteered to drive when we went to the theater last week too. Another friend has driven me to church.

My parents have been shopping for me, as well as watering my plants and cleaning around the house. Pushing a vacuum with only one hand just doesn’t work. And forget about dragging a hose.Mom waters plants while I have the cast --broke my wrist

I don’t like having to depend on other people, and I’m glad it’s temporary. But it does give them the blessing of helping me out, It always feels good to give of yourself to someone. I truly am blessed to have such loving, supportive family and friends.

How have you been blessed by someone’s generosity when you needed it? Or perhaps you’ve had the privilege of helping someone else.  Share it here so we can all benefit from it.

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When a Dog Walk Becomes a Ministry

By Ellen Andersen

I’d started down the street, taking Tommy for a walk last week. Five minutes later, I discovered God had more in mind for me than simply a short stroll. I’d walked into a ministry. When Tommy and I were about halfway down the street, my neighbor stepped out of her house and called to me.

“Ellen.” I turned to my right.Jo in front of Betty's house

“Hi Jo.”

“Are you going to Bi-Lo?”

“No. I’m just taking Tommy for a short walk.”

“Oh.” Her face fell. “I was hoping someone was going to Bi-Lo. I need some cream cheese for some pies and a cake I want to make for my grandkids this weekend and it’s too far for me to drive. I can’t drive that far anymore.” (Jo’s in her late eighties and is rather frail.)

I walked about 3 more steps then turned around, deciding it wouldn’t be a big deal to pick up something at the store. I told her I would go for her.

“Oh, great! I just need some cream cheese—four packages. It’s on sale this week. And you know, that milk stuff in the can. I don’t remember what it’s called.

“Evaporated milk?” I suggested.

“Yeah, that. I need two of those. I’m making dessert for when my grandkids come. And I need . . .”

I laughed and said, “You’re going to have to write this stuff down, Jo. I’m not gonna remember it all.”

“Oh sure. I will.” Jo ambled into her house, doing her best to balance with her walker. She found a piece of paper and a pen, and dug out her advertisement with the sales on it. Sure enough, cream cheese was on sale. She put Campbells’ tomato soup and cream of mushroom soup (two each please) along with three or four more items on her list. I had to smile.

Jo took some money out of her purse and handed it to me. “I think this will be enough,” she said. “Do you want more?” I assured her it’d be plenty.

Because she can’t drive more than around the corner, she’s usually cooped up at home.

“Do you want me to come with you? To help you?” she asked. She hoped I’d yes so she could get out of the house, not because she thought I needed help. I declined, telling her I’m not strong enough to help her balance. I could just see the two of us in trouble walking in the parking lot. Puppy dog eyes begged me to take her with me, but safety comes first. I walked Tommy home then drove to the store.

I don’t shop at Bi-Lo so I had no idea where to find things for her. Fortunately, I’m not shy about asking for help. I spotted some people who seemed to know where things were and they pointed me in the right direction. One lady even took me to exactly what I needed a couple aisles down.

Twenty minutes later, I arrived back at Jo’s, groceries in hand. She stood outside, smiling as I pulled up. Jo tried to take a bag from me.

“It’s okay, Jo. I’ve got it.”

“I don’t want it to be too heavy for you” she said.

“Thanks Jo, but it’s not too heavy. Really.”

We walked into her house, put everything on the counter and stuck the cream cheese in the fridge. I handed her a little over six dollars in change. Jo tried to give me a dollar for having gone. “For the gas”, she said. I declined. It was just down the street.

A few days later, Jo spotted me as she headed home from the mailbox. She headed toward me and said, “I made the pie for my grandkids. They really liked it.” She proceeded to tell me about their time together.

It was such a small thing to do, but getting those things for her at the store meant a lot to Jo and she had a great time with her grandkids. Little favors can mean a lot to someone. Even just a mile’s drive to the store.

Neighbors to The Rescue

By Ellen Andersen

IMG_1346It was a beautiful day so I took my basset, Petey, for a walk. We headed down the cul-de-sac and saw my neighbor, Bonnie, walking her dog, Hattie. Hattie’s a brownish-red pug who’s about three. When Petey spotted her, he got excited.

“You can say hi,” I said. We headed toward them and Petey lunged, pulling me down. Bonnie tried to catch me but it happened so fast, she couldn’t. Because I’d had one hand on the leash, I couldn’t block my fall, so I hit the pavement face first. Twice. I screamed out in pain. Bonnie grabbed hold of me, held me still, and told me to stay down, not wanting me to injure myself even worse. Francis, another neighbor, came out and pretty soon they had a pillow under my head, cold compresses on my face, and two blankets over the rest of me.

I’m not sure how long it was before I said, “I can’t believe I’m lying out here in the middle of the street.”

“It’s okay. We’ve got you. Just lie there” Francis said.

“Don’t get up.  I don’t want you to hurt yourself any worse.” Bonnie said. She then

volunteered to take Petey home.

“Yes, please. Door’s unlocked,” I said, grateful they’d thought of it.IMG_1331

I told them I didn’t need EMS. They wanted to call my mom so she could come take care of me for a bit and, if necessary, drive me to the urgent care. Once I remembered her number, they called. They got no answer, so they left a voice mail. When they asked for her cell, I had no idea what it was. I gave them a friend’s number, but they recognized it and said it was wrong. About 5-10 minutes later, I came up with the right number and they called. No answer again, so they left another message.

Meanwhile, one of them got a wet facecloth and an ice pack and placed it over my eyes and nose in order to reduce the swelling. Someone else grabbed some Advil. I couldn’t sit up yet so they gave me water through a straw since I was still flat on the pavement.  Lying there in pain, I was aware enough to thank them all for being there to help me.

“That’s what neighbors are for”, they said.

Mom called back and talked to Francis.  About 15 minutes later, she arrived, drove me home, and stayed for a few hours to be sure I’d be okay. Bonnie said she’d come check on me later. I spent the afternoon resting and recovering.

About 7:00 that evening, Bonnie came over for a few minutes with Hattie to see how I was doing. It meant a lot that she cared enough to check on me. It didn’t stop there, though. Even the next day, Bonnie came and wanted to take Petey out to go for a walk, so I wouldn’t have to. I graciously accepted. When they returned she asked what time I get up in the morning.

“About 7:30,” I said.

“I’ll come take him out then.”

IMG_1281“You don’t have to do that,” I said.

“I don’t mind. I’ve got to take Hattie out anyway. I’ll just take both of them.” So she did. When they returned, I thanked her and she volunteered to take them that evening too. It was so kind of her. Even a week later, she’s coming to help me with Petey, not wanting me to fall again.

It may not seem like a big thing to do, but my neighbors’ efforts meant a lot as I continued to recover. Small acts of kindness can make a big difference.

EllenEllen Andersen lives in Mauldin, South Carolina with her adorable dog, Petey. Active in her church, Ellen is a Stephen Minister, serves on the First Impression Team, and hosts a weekly Bible study. She enjoys gardening, theater, and spending time with friends and family.