Monday, January 31, 2005

Gentle snowflakes

The snow falls outside, gently, outlining the tree branches, and the patient deck pots which I never brought in. Cody is sleeping, and I've been having extreme-necessary quiet time.

With the anxiety which has been constantly seeping into me, especially these last 4-5 months, my sense of peace has not been gently falling into place like the lovely, unique snowflakes. Rather, I've been drifting along, trying to cope with some of the issues that have hit lately. Inside, I feel disquietude; like I want to bolt or crawl up under one of my homemade Grandma Cora quilts and wait to be with her.

Yet someone calls out to me to be there for them. And, for a time, I can be, and then it hits. This coming Wednesday, I need to be a person who can share God's heart in front of approximately 80+ women. My nerves are beginning to feel this pressure. I don't feel like I should be there, like it should be the other women's ministry's front person who exudes spirituality and faith and confidence in God's design.

I love God, but that feeling-faith mix which inspires is low-level right now. Paul, although heroic, seems once again to be there, advising me. He says, "Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible." And, he advises against running aimlessly but running for a prize, a crown that will last forever.

So, in these verses encountered this a.m., I hear him saying to do what it takes in order to go forth and conquer; this includes conquering fear and anxiety in order to focus on why I'm in ministry -- to bring someone to a fuller sense of Christ through the work that I do. Let your light shine before women that they may see the glory of God. No one lights a light and covers it. A city is built on a hill to be seen. Pieces of encouragement.

Ah, that sounds lofty and scary, yet my prayers this morning just asks for help, to relinquish my inadequacy for God's capabilities, to trust that his Spirit can sustain me. I want to give Him everything that curtails my trust in His work, both in my family life and ministry. Please allow this to happen, dear Lord.

Take care,

Saturday, January 29, 2005


I'm tired tonight and, once again, feel like I'm struggling for air in regards to my son. I'm not accepting him. I realize that. I don't want him the way he is: full of constant cough, full of anxiety, full of sociological issues. I would like him to be made whole, God, without autism, without anxiety issues, with physical health, with a sense of belonging in this world. Why him? Why us?
These thoughts are wrong; so many Christians accept and see things as gifts.
Women have told me, "Look, he's a special unique gift."
Yes, he is, and I love his smile and natural curiosity and humor.
But, sport Saturdays are hard. We have him in an Upward Basketball non-competitive team.
I sit in constant tension, especially when I see his uncontrollable anger, or hear his insults, or see people staring oddly at him. I took him into a private closet once because he ran off the court due to frustration.
And then, tonight, we tried to get him to sleep in his own room, but he sits up in bed petrified, anxious, asking to sleep on a small blue couch in our room. He cries; we yell; he yells; we cry.
Things are hard for him, and for us.
Perhaps it's time for an Asperger support group?

Friday, January 28, 2005

Weepiness as a worldview

My eyes are filled with tears. My emotions have been heightened upon the pitches of the waves, like a vessel idly moored in a harbor. I can't help it. When the guys on the team place their jerseys upon the desk of Dan Devine, and say, "Let Rudy take my place, Coach", that's when my throat becomes clogged, my eyes wet, and my whole being grovels on the 'low ground of feeling and emotion".

The underdog perseveres. He's recognized within the stadium as having heart.

I think I'll have another drink of coffee and weep. I love this movie.

I love any story that makes me feel. Feelings, emotions are suspect characters. Especially in women. We are often chastised, explained away, reduced, stereotyped by the full volume of feelings that we may have. Feelings are dangerous; when we express them at times, we may receive silence (especially from men who are nervous?), and we may decide that they are not worth the expression. Feelings and emotions have been scapegoated as unreliable -- the heart is deceitful, etc. The mind is more steadfast and responsible.

In the traditional Christian writing, we hear this echo of a worldview which received its influences from stoicism (as opposed to epicurianism) and rationalism, and we wonder: do we serve God well by limiting emotional influences? Most of our inherited religious thought would say 'yes'. Some like Julian of Norwich , who was considered a mystic, were exceptions. But chances are, most of old our church fathers most likely did adhere to the rationalistic influence of progressive western thought.

We've inherited this way of thinking throughout the ages. Here's a quote from Mrs Charles Cowan (can you imagine authoring a book this way nowadays?) which talks about the perils of the emotional landscape:

Do not remain in the haven of distrust, or sleeping on your shadows in inactive repose, or suffering your frames and feelings to pitch and toss on one another like vessels idly moored in a harbor. The religious life is not a brooding over emotions, grazing the keel of faith in the shallows, or dragging the anchor of hope through the oozy tide of mud as if afraid of encountering the healthy breeze. Away! .... If we remain groveling on the low ground of feeling and emotion, we shall find ourselves entangled in a thousand meshes of doubt and despondency, temptation, and unbelief. \
Mrs. Charles Cowman in Streams in the Desert

She wrote this in 1925, but I daresay in religious circles and thought, these views on emotions still hold true. I felt the implications of this throughout most of my exposure to religious ways of thinking. However, I must admit, my church now is steeped in the validity of the emotional life, although our "recovery ministry" is based upon correcting/helping/aiding the emotional wounds (ironically enough which often manifest themselves in the way we think, rationalize, etc). So, it's a marriage, a blend, and I just resist when emotion is scapegoated as being the problem. I believe emotions are the harbingers of spring, of thaw, of the pulse of life, and, yes, they annoy me at times (especially the less productive ones of anger, resentment, grief), yet to stuff&stifle in the name of what is proper and good (rationalism, stoicism), always is more irritating to me, especially when it's portrayed as the way to a better life of faith. Bularky. Rudy brought all of that out in me this morning. Ru-Dy! Ru-Dy! Ru-Dy! Thank God, for a more colorful canvas than we often want to allow ourselves!

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Joseph Campbell and spatulas

We are hooked, as mother and daughter, to the "Gilmore Girls" reruns (to us the original). Every evening from 4-5, we tune in to see if Loralei and Luke will ever get together. We tune into see a lovely, peaceful, funny mother-daughter combo who are best friends. We tune into see the dysfunctional parents and the funny best friends. We are hooked. I can't wait until tomorrow evening. If E and I've fought, we reunite in front of our television. We pretend that we have a similar relationship to these fictional, but darling characters.

This evening's show featured college freshmen Rory and Paris 'trying' out the typical Floridian Spring break. They didn't know what to do to 'fit in', so the first night they put a pizza on the bed, put in the videotape, called it the 'perfect night', and began to watch Bill Moyers interview Joseph Campbell in the famous "Power of Myth" dialogue. Ah, that was so funny to me. I wonder why ... :)

Chances are that's where I was in college too. Into my books. Into intellectual talks and ideas. My head was stuffed with new things, and I didn't understand the other way of living, like the spring break crowd in this show. I was definitely left behind in cold Missouri where there were good books still to read and, hopefully, blooming redbuds in the woods on the farm. And, yes, I found Joseph Campbell to be fascinating. Didn't you?

I've just been downstairs going through some of my files where I have recommendation letters, transcripts, personal notes from fave intellectual friends, ethereal-topical writing, and I wonder sometimes what happened to "her".

Should I have expressed all this through career? My file folders scream 'yes'! I had a few accomplishments, not a lot before I couldn't handle the balance of family and work. Why did I try so darn hard at college? That was another girl to be sure.

Well, I have a Pampered Chef party at an acquaintance's house, so I must go get ready. The today's woman will try to decide to purchase (that ugly math word again!) either the metal spatula or the stoneware thing. I'll let you know because it'll be quite interesting as a sign of the times.

Money ain't fun

Money is related to math isn't it? That figures why I have a pounding headache this morning and a resolve to subtract from my sum total.
My daughter and I went to a meeting on our long-awaited Europe trip last night, and we wrote checks for over five thousand dollars.
When I returned home, I faced the breadwinner here, who knew of the money, but wasn't anticipating it to be that much.
I chose my non-salaried life, didn't I? Perhaps though I can scrape to pay my share from other sources besides his. With Cody home, though, I can't substitute teach, nor take the British Literature teaching job that was just offered to me.
This is when mothers tell their teenage daughters the importance of independence, of making money, of having freedom.
Maybe I'll call the trip teachers and tell them that only my daughter will be going. I did this about 20 years ago when my parents told me that it would be tough financially to send me to England for a semester. I really hate being a burden. Yet my daughter says that she doesn't want to go without me, even though friends of hers are going.
Maybe I can figure out a way to scrape through on my own: garage sales, e-bay, credit debt, an old small teacher's retirement money fund.
However, ultimately, it's not imperative that I go. I chose this lifestyle, of staying home. Home has its benefits; there's books and children and flowers and a freedom of sorts if I watch the outflying money that it takes to live regardless of the pile-sum that it's pulled from.
Subtraction ain't fun.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Math ain't fun

Subtraction. The numbers are on the paper, but his eyes are on the marbles, the cats, the pretzels. What will happen when the birds are singing outside, when the trampoline arrives, when our little green seedlings are ready to plant?
I understand those feelings against the angry face of mathematics.
Subtraction takes away our good feelings. Multiplication increases our anxiety. Division separates us from healthy self-esteem (yes! I humiliated myself in fourth grade by crying because long division was soooo impossible to only me! the popular girl scout at my pod was excellent at it, but I was a poor, shy nondivision-type-of-lowlife).

Onto other, better things ...
Pinnacle software is a must-have. I went to a friend's house, and she pieced together my video footage which I shot for our ministry kickoff. It's a movie now! The software is just awesome, and I must save for it. I can think of all types of creative ventures to do as a new, more sophisticated distraction from math.

But, onto better things ... actually on to more forced subtraction for my poor son. God save him!

Sideways crawl

Recently, I've been having those thoughts which paint black everyone's attitude toward my actions. Don't they live to smear me? Don't they live to scorn some of my decisions and toss them aside judgmentally and cruelly? I've been the proverbial look-over-shoulder guy. I've been the crab scuttling sideways out to the waves in order to disappear into them away from the feet that wish to stomp.
For instance, I told my bookclub friends (friends that go way back, but don't know what goes on in your life on a daily/weekly/monthly basis) in an e-mail that my grandmother died, my dad had a heart attack, Cody has a chronic cough that might have been c.f. for four weeks, and that I've decided to homeschool. News to them.
All I could think about was one of my 'friends' who in the last six months has sort-of shelved me. We've all felt that. She is a work-identity driven person with hard judgment and a sharp tongue who used to be one of my best friends when I worked and fit into her categories.
When I sent the e-mail out, I had all sorts of dark imaginings that she was laughing at the homeschool part, calling me a zealot, proudly turning to her name-blocked desk in her name-plated office, gathering around her/our friends that she has kept and invited to her home on a regular basis without me.
She hates religion anyway, so I imagined her equating my decision with narrowminded superstition about the world, etc.
I was practically glowering about her for a while. And then ....
I received the sweetest e-mail from her, expressing her sympathy, applauding my decision to homeschool, complimenting my patient nature and my faith.
Of course, I distrusted her sincerity; her exclusion will remain the same.
However, I accept the pleasant surprise of kind words. And, I must admit, the sideways crawl into the depths of the ocean isn't too Christ-like. Therefore, I must walk back toward her with an e-mail thanks and I must open my sooty hands for them to be scrubbed by Jesus again who teaches us how to walk upright with forgiving springs and a lighter load.
Merci for that.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Rabies and such

I have not been writing much, I'm afraid, here in my blog. Other writing, yes -- the maintenance e-mail writing; the creative writing for an upcoming ministry kickoff; the lesson plans for my son's next day. And, to tell you the truth, I've been in teen parenting crisis mode. Ach. It's happening, and I'm supposed to be like Hosea, but I sunk into low words tonight. Ach. I pray that she turns out alright and is kept safe.

Home schooling was wonderful today, though. Cody and I built our lesson from an initial reading of "Old Yeller" -- we moved from discussion to journaling to building a fake log cabin to grammar to scientific questions on rabies. I can't tell you how much calmer our days are now that I'm not getting the onslaught of bad news, from the school personnel and from stressed-out Cody himself.

Well, the husband is here, asking to share a glass of wine. From ach to ahhhh....
More later,

Thursday, January 20, 2005

purple zinnias

We have seeds! Cody and I spent our time circling the display this afternoon. As is typical, Cody wanted to control how we chose. I was able to choose four vegetables and two flowers. He chose five flowers and one sweet corn. We laughted when we compared in the van that we had both bought the purple giant zinnias! We also have hopes for chives, English daisies, carrots, broccoli, and snapdragons to name a few. Now, it's time to see if my florescent lights are still willing to proxy the sun until April or May. A couple of busy years prevented me from using the plant tables, but, hey, science needs to be demonstrated, not just taught, and so we have garden hopes with immediate gratification of sweet green sprouts. Nothing like it for the winter soul.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005


Cody does not have cystic fibrosis says the test! We're all thanking God for that. He started allergy shots yesterday, so we'll see if this helps.
The allergist doctor was flamboyantly optomistic. The allergist doctor was a bit handsy with me and entered my space too often as I sat hopefully staring up at him with promise of a diagnosis. No matter. That happens. So, Cody was stuck in the arm yesterday. We move on with hope that the cough will die.
One huge development in our family: I am now teaching again. At home on my couch, on the floor, over the seedling starter trays in the basement, everywhere.
It was a scary transition like moving to a new town. Yet we started and now we're in Texas with Travis who just found that an old yeller dog ate the meat that was hanging down from the hog butcherin'. Yep Old Yeller. Boy still boy but boy becomes man. We're enjoying it.
Tomorrow is Science Thursday, and we'll be reviewing animal classification, especially the invertebrates. Exciting, exciting!

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Despite what happens

Gomer, like Angel, kept returning to prostitution.
Hosea had to find a way to love her without all of those other human emotions swirling around, making restitution impossible.
Three times in the last four months, I've been brought to the story of Hosea and Gomer, and now my specific situation is at hand to know why. I pray that I can do it. Human love is very hard. I want to be angry and justified and guarded, but I need to be like Hosea prompted by God. I need to show a love that continues despite resistance and refusal and rebellion.
Father, I need you so much in my life right now. Please make me strong. Amen.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005


Did you hear about the mentally handicapped Kennedy sibling who was lobotomized by her parents, JFK's parents? She was a functioning person, but they thought she might be "too functioning" and could cause embarrassment (pregnancy, legal problems, etc). They followed the advice of doctors who said that if they scraped out a part of the brain that they would be safe with their errant offspring.

Last night, I was categorized for a lobotomy, in my dreams. There were four of us, and I was deemed bad at dance and somewhat rebellious (I stole some candy that I found). An offcial woman came in and gave me my file. The dream was highly detailed, particularly prior to the judgment when we were being held in captivity. I could observe the facility we were in, and the mindless people milling and swimming about.

My dreams have been like this lately. I told my daughter that when I sleep I'm going to go visit those people and that society! My dreams have become so populated. Why couldn't I be camping in the mountains instead or lost in the desert? Bizarre. Dad has vivid dreams as well.

My homeschooling dread has resurfaced strongly now that I'm on the brink of it. Perhaps I think it will be like a social lobotomy (for me) -- I have many friends to get together with many days of the week. I know how that time and circumstance makes a friendship work. I will mostly miss my Monday morning running partner and our long walk/talks afterwards. Perhaps we can reschedule, but she's busy with piano lessons in the evenings.

I'm quite sad about all of this. Too sad to call my Iowa homeschooling friend who could give me lots of advice. But it's something I want and need to do. We've gone all the helpful routes that we can through the public school, and they have been wonderful, but not adequate for what Cody needs. God will have to be in this with us, otherwise my lobotomy will be irreversible.

Thanking him for hope,

Monday, January 10, 2005

Julie and Lisa

Julie Miller, do you know her? She has an awesome song called, "Out in the Rain" [I keep on walking ... ]. I didn't know her until a coffee ministry guy and I started talking about music and he loaned me some of his c.ds which many people don't like except him and me (and others unknown I'm sure). The song is great, and Julie and Buddy Miller are wonderful, plaintive with a beat and artsy-imagistic lyrics. I think I'll buy it as tun-a-therapy. Her info is at

My day is roller-coastering. An e-note from the teacher which says "What to do with your son?" just hit me. I confess I've been doubletalking/thinking things like: "Okay God I will sacrifice my self-pleasures on a rock in the mountains and homeschool, but perhaps maybe you'd also like to tangle a ram's horn in time so that I won't have to actually go through with it!" And begging like this: send us a ram which gives us an allergy cure which cures his autism and other behavioral concerns. Make him adaptable and not special needs. Strike us with healing, s'il Vous plait.

The homeschooling idea keeps coming up. For four years now, I've backburnered it with an accompanying feeling of dread. I haven't been ready to be that sacrificial and with a special needs kid, it's more difficult. Yet Cody's trouble at school is not the same as at home: there he has the stimuli, the social things that confuse and label and depress him, the expectations to fit into a box. And, as he approaches middle and junior high with the limited time and attention of secondary teachers (I know because I've been in their shoes), Cody will continue to either be a problem or to fall through the cracks entirely. And, here I am at home, a certified teacher....
Prior to this writing, I decided to keep him home beginning in the fifth grade. Yet it now knocks, and I'm scared. I would miss my friendships that I keep alive now; I would miss alone time, personal time.......
Yet other times, I can't wait to start. Since the new year, I've checked out some homeschooling books at the library. I'm reading Lisa Whelchel's "So You're Thinking About Homeschooling," and most of homeschooling is portrayed as difficult but wonderous. The potential for the student is favorable. The parents all seem to be less burdened (by what's going on in the schools -- bullying, academic limiting, social pressures) and more involved in shaping their child's outlook on learning and life. Good stuff. Inspiring.
Since the new year, I have been lessening my volunteer commitments. I do have the free time now to do this. In a week or two, my life may change. I've been seeking to serve my family more. Why don't I just let it happen?
This may be it.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Beer drunk on aol

We like to sit in the back row of our church and snicker. I think we're the only family who tries to laugh through their noses at any little aberrant noise or word that happens in the building. I felt like the old-muppet-men-in balcony tonight. We laughed at the serious part, during the pastoral beckoning, because the band was attempting to walk serenely w/o notice behind him. Church was good for us.

I really enjoyed the "Toad the Wet Sprocket" song the band played. I love that group. Reminds me of a gift once of a couple albums from a person who now lives on another island with other inhabitants, with a message sent from time to time. That's life, we reckon.

Talking about music, I am slow my daughter acknowledges. I told her about discovering aol radio (she rolled her eyes), about discovering the alternative country station (she rolled her eyes). Yet this is my kind of music. Lucinda Williams et al. Rock tunes with a twang! I just heard a band called the Gourds who has an album called "Cow Fish Fowl or Pig." Great sound. Check them out at

Now, I'm listening to Wilco. Excellent. Now Flat Duo Jets. Nice! Back to the roots of rock n roll really. Rockabilly. Stray cats. Dwight Yoakam with more quirks. Good stuff. Even a banjo. Kick up those heels and jump those bales! I'm no longer in my townie circle! Here comes Hank Williams III bumpin' along (behind the mules) who likes to get "beer drunk in the Mississipi mud"-- sounds like there's some merit to the alchohol gene goin' on in that family.

Hey yah, nothing like good music on a Saturday night!

Friday, January 07, 2005

Guilty comfort

I just made my vanilla hazelnut pot of coffee in my soft Victoria Secret warm robe. (I'm not bragging -- it only cost $9 on the clearance rack, but it is divine if I must say so.) My heater is on to keep out the cold. My kitten is licking herself contentedly on the rug by my feet. In a little bit, I'll be taking my boy to elementary school.

I wonder, though, about Southeast Asia. The pictures show particles of the devastatation; the personal accounts attest to unbelievable sights. The smell of rotting corpses becomes part of our current day vernacular.

I feel guilty to be living so well. Yes, my place in life could be blown away to bits by a tornado (2004 did have the most tornadoes on record) right here in the middle of the U.S. Or, some paranoid Missourians believe that a terrorist will show them a bomb, in the form of dropping it, right here in the central most part of the States, which is supposedly about 25 miles from here. Or, sometimes I truly do look up when I hear a low flying plane and wonder if it is a 747 headed for the mile-away nuclear plant. There are risks about anywhere these days. One must always store something for survival in a closet or a basement.

But when the disaster happens, it's cruel. Thankfully, people are showing their hearts by helping, giving, hoping for the best. We see the real stories on the news. Boy makes hot chocolate stand. Wheelchair sailor saves. Lutherans dispatch aid.

Then there's the other side (who says there's not a dichotomous structure in the air, "versus in the air"?) who are snatching children for trade, who are setting up watchful criminal fronts, who are plotting, who are not doing anything for anyone who had misfortune. Too real, too murky at times, too personal perhaps.

I don't feel like I'm doing enough. What is that wall that makes ours a contained world? Some people break through. A few dollars of mine broke through. Many of us just remain on our own island with our own inhabitants. I guess that this is okay, given our responsibilities. Yet it makes me fidgety. I dislike being a sideliner. Maybe I'll make a few calls today. Maybe I'll pierce with prayer some --- Marianne Williamson (I know, I know, new age cultish to some of you) expressed very well how prayer is like a beacon of light, a torch that we have access to in order to help others. Is it in Timothy where intercessory prayer is talked about as real, as a tangible aid?

I'm just very sorry that it happened and am sad each time I see what these people are going through. What are you all finding to do?

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Hands of babes

Even though I didn't go to Harvard like my studious cousin (already deliberating to a jury with her hands), at least I prayed at a young age in these newfound baby photos from an aunt. :)Spiritual or intellectual? Homebound or career rich? It's all in the genes at an early age, methinks! Posted by Hello

The Biggest Desperate Loser in the Swimsuit Competition

An evening blog is more reality driven than its morning counterparts. Perhaps the reality shows of the night are impacting me. Perhaps the realization that I've been watching too many reality shows lately ring the bell that my own reality may be getting pathetic. Tonight, a child and I watched the Sports Illustrated swimwear cover competition. Has my life gone to the dogs? It was bad enough that the prettiest and smartest and most altruistic girl was dropped. I must recover from this weird stupor that's gripped me into watching as many other-people's realities as possible. I had to record "The Biggest Loser" last night at 2 a.m. (the satellite network did the waking up) because the Tigers local game pre-empted.

"Not everyone watches the Tigers lose, you know! I may have built the arena with my taxes, but I sure as hell don't want them primetime on my major network!" I wanted to yell at the local NBC receptionist when I called. But I didn't do anything except passively record, and then Cody and I watched it prior to dropping him off at the circle drive of his elementary school. Can you believe that Gary actually did write Moe's name down on a piece of elimination paper?!

I haven't started watching "Desperate Housewives" yet although a smart, funny housewife friend of mine says that she really likes it. I'm just afraid. When I see the commercials of the women dressing in hardly nothing (especially when in embrace with the gardener/neighbor's man/city utility reader, etc), I'm thinking 'exploitation'. I'm a stay-at-homer who's most comfortable in these Old Navy men's athletic pants that I got six years ago. I don't like to think of men thinking of 'housewives' as being desperate. No, we're just a bit bewildered like everyone else out there. And, mostly, we have lots of layers on while being so. (Yes, I have an old t-shirt and sweatshirt on above those athletic pants.)

Today, I was bewildered by myself because I was pretending to be the perfect housewife of all time (due to the new year resolution of being responsible). I cleaned everything in the living and dining room. I vacuumed. I dusted. I hotwashed blankets and pillowcases. I began a list of a weekly schedule (like a pioneer woman) of tasks that I must do. When my Iowan friend once showed me her lists which made her a perfect housewife/mother woman, I laughed fearlessly in her face. No lists for the liberated woman like me! I'm free, and you're enslaved by duty. Confucianism. I wander around finding my muse (which she admired in me she said). Taoism. I felt so superior to her; fortunately, she stayed my friend. Christianity (that longsuffering forgiving part of it).

Now, I'm writing the lists. One item on tomorrow's to-do is "organize the storage room". Ah, life in its essence. ... I'm scaring myself badly. The reality shows of the evening are legitimately taking me away from my reality of controlled order. When might it stop?! I look now on the refrigerator and my teen daughter has given me a list as well. Yep, dryerase-listed; there'll be congressional hearings on all of this listed wasted-energy efforts later (when my kids get indicted for something, when I reach Peter's pearly gates, when the psychotherapist questions my co-dependency leading to uproarious mental states, leading to divorce, leading to cholic, leading to becoming a unabomber of dandelions).

When I do have free time, I'm reading books on homeschooling, a possibility in the future given the report from Cody's teacher today. Yes, responsibility. To escape or embrace? That is the question.

Bewildered with layers (it's icing outside in the Midwest),
Rescued by Calgon,

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Critters for Jordan in 2008

My sweatshirt is still damp from the nice morning run in the mist with a friend. The cats are crunching in the next room. The trash truck grinds its Tuesday's treasures.

I love the fresh start of a new year. The intensity of Christmas releases during the 25th and the week following and what follows is hope of a new start, hope of resurrection.

An allergist doctor believes that Cody's problems are all allergy related instead of c.f. One tablet of Singulair has silenced his cough, just in time for the beginning of fourth grade choir tomorrow. We will begin immunotherapy in two weeks for dust and tree pollen allergens. There's hope that behavorial issues will be aided by this treatment too. We were all hugs and smiles together before school.

Dad is home, recuperating, vowing to take care of himself better, allowing my brother to unroll the hay bales for the cattle. Outside Dad's window, Bo the white lab can still be spotted from time to time jumping the big round haybales in the nearby lot. At times, the cats join him. Visitor's kids join Bo too. It has become a festivity in itself, a moment in motion, in air, Michael Jordan for the common folk and critters. Maybe one day Dad will be jumping with his new heart.

During our morning outing today, my friend and I decided that letting go of friendships is one of the hardest things. On the trail in the cool air with my brain actually working, I likened this process as being like two people on different islands with different inhabitants. I don't want to be on a different island than ________ but this person and I are, due to circumstances, and we are surrounded with different natives. It's almost mournful to see them again and to realize the necessary separation. Yet there's hope in where one is and who is around.

So, I'm hopeful for 2005 right now. Hopeful that God will work in our time and space and infiltrate what seems hopeless and hard. I pray that for you too. Happy new year!

Monday, January 03, 2005

the earth melts

"You have made us for Yourself, Oh God, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you." Augustine

The tsunami disaster on the suspended hospital televisions doubled my theological questions of the hour. "He lifts his voice, the earth melts... Psalm 46

God doesn't cause, we always say, yet there are definitive points toward that in the Bible. However, I can't blame; the natural laws are set, and we abide, and the Bible points more toward an overwhelming love. "A present help in time of trouble." I know that the heart of Christ lifts, heals, and knocks. If one is open, they hear the words, "I am gentle and humble in heart. Come to me and I will give you rest," moreso than the Old Testament words which are typically directed toward those who relentlessly disobey and cause evil upon others.

But the wave pummeled the innocent. It's very sad. A US Today paper showed bodies floating with debris in a wide swath of stagnation.

I kept thinking that if my dad died, that it would be a very crowded waiting room in the afterlife holding pen. The faith seems ridiculous, however, when you think of 150,001 people waiting to be judged. It's difficult to think about, difficult to swallow. It's like victims should automatically be baptized and accepted by the light. If there is even a light we wonder in times like this. The television shows us just the simple fact of victims rotting in a tropical sun -- forget the worldview of Christians which extend hopefully beyond what is and what is being photographed.

Yet I've committed myself to a faith picture and even though I can't imagine much, I do know and appreciate "presence", even a small -p- version of it when it can't be feeled, when it doesn't even have a name, when it slinks about silently.

I'm reading this morning about reciprocal action. What we choose to believe opens our view and experience: Return to me, and I will return to you; Come near to God, and he will come near to you; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him. It's all about opening mind and heart as a beckon to the Presence who promises to make Itself known.

I want to go to Asia and help. I'm jealous of those who can. Yet I send a few dollars that way and try to realize that love is never contained.

May his presence be sought and allowed in this area. Please help those who suffer. Send those who love in safety. Amen

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Six nurses

In the Critical Care Unit, six nurses were needed to hold my strong dad down when he woke up in a panic. A breathing tube was down his throat, and also because of his asthma, Dad felt as if he couldn't breathe, so he fought hard even immediately after a quadruple bypass.
My sister couldn't wait to give him those bragging rights afterwards. We're all proud of his strength.
Yet I saw him very weak the next day when they brought him to his recovery room and forced him to hobble to his chair. He looked old and pained. He sat in his chair barely able to hold his head up, barely able to breathe.
We think he's out of the woods now, though, for a while. Actually today, he's going home after being in since Tuesday when he left our family Christmas for the emergency room at St. John's. I went to Springfield on Wednesday when I heard of his open heart surgery. Dad sat in his room making his customary one-line jokes; he had already made fast friends with his roommate and nurses. He was "wow, very funny" says his grand-daughters.
It was all scary, though, the next morning when we hugged, spoke, and waved goodbye to him as he was wheeled away. We've never seen him so vulnerable looking. Then, two uncles, a preacher, two nieces, two siblings, a sister-in-law, and I waited for news. Four hours later, the smiling chaplain said that he was doing well. Thank you, God, for more time with him; a huge prayer over the last year which seemed to intensify this fall along with his heart pains.
Now, my little mother must take him home and make him come to terms with a few changes in diet (he found out that he's now diabetic too) and habits (no driving for six weeks!). It's going to be so hard on her. She's the one who needs supernatural strength now. She's the one who must deal with him and the cows and the unreliable tractor.
I came back from this ordeal a bit changed. I feel like I'm older. I feel like I need to be more responsible both to my own family and to my self as it relates to health issues and practical issues. I have a new endeavor which I must keep confidential which will stretch me in this way. Yes, of course, I want to be a creative airhead every so often! however, if I want to live well and well-rounded (and help my family in this way), the practical side must be learned a bit more than I've given it credit. Yikes!
It's so easy to live disengaged from your family, yet I don't want that to happen on many levels. Therefore, 2005, make me strong, capable of being boring, capable of taking care of others and myself, and help me not become what I'm not supposed to become. Amen.