Sunday, June 23, 2013

Birds, fuzz to net

A quiet morning on the deck, coffee, life, the boys have pivoted towards the tennis courts early this morning, and I am alone with the cats and the birds who are squawking at the cats. Always this animosity brewing in the air: you felines are wingless idiots, you birds are slower than my paws. And, on and on it goes until a cat has a mouth full of feathers, and bird troops are called in to make my deck sitting a living hell. Okay, it's really not that bad here, but Milton always knew that it was easier to write about contention and Satan rather than heaven and Jesus. It's fun.

Tennis has become a focus here due to the amazing development that my son signed up for Special Olympics, on his own accord. I think a university student who benevolently came for one buddy session in order to fulfill his fraternity orders of community service suggested that he do so. Well, much can come out of so frivolous an appearance. The next day son mentioned playing basketball in this league.

Many years ago, he had vowed that he would never participate in anything with the name "special" in front of it. Yet, at the courts, the tall, heavy boys do not see him. My son fizzles and storms. His internal barometer skyrockets. He realizes this is his last chance to play organized basketball. And, then we found out that tennis season is happening now.

We've been to the courts twice. He hates that I'm an athletic mom who occasionally has some good hits, although I can never control them enough to win a game. We've been working on self-regulation tactics when we're frustrated that the green stupid ball stupidly hits the net or avoids all lines.

So, Dad is out there this morning before the heat and humidity hits. I bet the birds are singing in all the trees around the Fairview courts. I bet the guys are connecting net to fuzz. I bet that the complexity of life will be focused upon the simple desire to hit the ball.  I hope he whacks in a regulated kind of rhythm to his heart's content. Amen.

Sunday, June 09, 2013


Today as I was on a long, solo trail run, full of honeysuckle and surprisingly not-so-exhausted legs, I felt some exhilaration mixed with much gratitude. I am truly grateful for where God has brought me and how much he has taught me through the years. I remember early days of faith renewal, the excitement and the desire to know and to please Him. I remember the day of saying yes! yes! to God after an especially meaningful reaffirmation of being back in my faith. That night, I truly felt as if I heard the angels sing all through the night to me. I felt held in God's arms, truly feeling much joy. And through the years, as a Christian, God has taught me very much about maturation as a person and as a woman. He has untied me from damaging tendencies which He made me personally untangle. He has made me see things that I couldn't see without His help -- personality and vanity issues. He has given me mission and placement. He has given me my own identity back wrapped in His love and desire. God helped me with so many parenting resources, through friendships and information and prayers to Him. He has been patient with me as I, at times, have complained and turned my back on trusting Him, being angry and impatient and throwing fits. I am glad that God loves me and never leaves me, despite what I do. And, so as I ran, I felt very happy and joyous, seeing many things clearly which I will likely forget during other times. But, I am thankful to be a limited person with a limitless God on my side. And, so I sing praise before I sleep tonight. Grateful, grateful to be loved despite who I am. Trusting that God will continue to teach me to look to Him while I look around where He has put me. Thankful for the Spirit who has set me free from the law of sin and death. Praying that family and friends will also know God's promised joy, healing, teaching, and resources. Amen.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


It's the school's "summer" now as the last weeks and days sped into a passing reality. I am back to sitting on my deck and looking at raindrops on the petals of my potted flowers. Bliss!

One of my goals this summer is to memorize Romans 8, and it's a slow-going process. Another goal is to help my son figure out his next step. He is 18 now, and we become more engrained in his transition process to work or education.

He had an internship at a local church which we were hopeful about. However, they want to keep it a short-term assignment and not offer him a job (although his salary would be paid by the city). Again, cynicism about the feel-good pleasure of short-term ministry trips (help) wants to bite. But, darn it, I can see clearer now about such things so I don't run it away and say it's something else. Yet I know that we are all guilty of wanting to simply feel good and not put ourselves out too much, even myself, so I must excuse these fellow Christians because I'm this way too. We all stand condemned in our self-interest, even those who preach about helping others on Sunday morning.  The truth is -- we must help ourselves and trust in God only. If it happens that we fall into the good favor of others, then, wonderful. But, beware of those who only want to feel good about their charity, and understand we are all in the same boat ourselves. It's a bit disheartening, but this is why Christ came.

As Romans 8 says, "for what the law is powerless to do because it was weakened by flesh, God did by sending his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering (8:3)."

For my son, he needs to go it alone with his family, God, and the grace of others who see the potential in him, whether they are Christians or not. I am thankful for God's loving spirit which far surpasses our own and filters through in various ways.  Amen.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Floating on

Soon I will not have a class of students to teach how literature is God's word in story forms. I won't be able to talk about Northrup Fry's research; I won't be able to ooh and aah with students over Captain Wentworth's letter to Anne Elliott; or do choral reading of Lewis Carroll: or write a script in line with Ambrose Bierce's story about the horse&rider falling from the sky; or try to open students' minds away from narrow minded judgmentalism or the mystery of God.

I am sad, but I must move on. The river floats, and I'm getting on the barge. I hope it is waterproof. I hope that it takes me to just as delightful places. I hope it isn't an escape from low pay and lots of work. I pray I can serve God with as much fulfillment as the time after a really stimulating class. Like today with attentive students, listening to some of my cumulative knowledge, wisdom, and love for each one of them.

Sunday, April 14, 2013


Today, I am feeling the confines. I sit on my back porch, and a neighboring deck has a person on it looking at me. I go inside and the television is on. I sit in the garage on the steps, and the clock ticks above me as I look out at the circle. I think about the bicyclist out there who is breezing through air away from their cul-de-sac, home, spiriting through quickly and escaping for awhile. I think of my friend out on the river, paddling, paddling, seeing the otters dive in and make a little splash while the rest of us sleep in our rectangular beds or sit outside in our lot. She is out there, and it shows on her face when she must be with the rest of us, in our confines and hers. Today, we play music with her, and I am glad because this music breaks down the confines until another one erects itself around it again.

When I sat on the back step, I remembered more times of sitting there thinking of getting away but unable to know where to go and what to do. I think this is more related to the eternal (or is that a pathetic acceptance of what isn't?). But, truly, I think we all struggle with being content. I just wish the neighbor wouldn't be there looking at me. I just wish that I had a blanket, and I was on my parent's farm, and I found a tree to sit under and let everything bleed into one full pulsating sad strain before a mosquito or an ant or a spider or a snake made me realize the comforts of home. I just wish. I just wish. I just wish for the culmination of Jesus or good music or an outdoor cafe with someone who I had no resentment with whatsoever. I guess that would be Jesus, after awhile, after we cleared some air, and took a deep drink together.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Bloomin' lessons

Mine and son's little peach tree is blooming, but I have allergies and cannot go outside this beautiful season. I have been spoiled in the past -- being allowed to traverse far and wide. I remember as a child crawling through downed trees in with their snakes, ticks, spiders, and upset possums. Yet they weren't really a danger -- I was able to make my "house" without their encroaching. Except those danged ticks in the right time of season. I must make allowance for their unfortunate aggression, those danged ticks.

But, today, I can't linger close to a blossom for fear of rapid fire results -- pollen switching my eyes and nose. So, here I sit, unable. My favorite season of the year sticks its tongue out at me through my window and over my big conglomerated nose.

However, I will never, ever, ever again think that my husband is a wimp during ragweed season.

I sit in humility, and I thank God for lessons which corrects my ignorance and extends my compassion to others.

(But, how long will I need to learn?)

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Forsythia Sparks

In the moment:

the forsythia is trying to emit sparks;

the cats are lounging on cushions;

the birds sing, seeking companions;

moisture hangs in a cloud.

Early Spring, and we are still living. Yesterday, I went to a man's memorial in which two governors attended as they recalled the man who was a living, compassionate, good man but was taken by violent means.

I remember Tom as one who would smile and say hello to me, or anyone who felt inferior to his height and to most people in general. When you feel insignificant, the people who don't have to, but do, speak or smile can make a huge impact. That's how I felt with Tom as most people did. He was humble and kind.

And, his wife, an old friend of mine. Full of strong grace and beauty. Interviewed by Anderson Cooper, she talked about when darkness overtakes the godly (a scriptural reference) and how devastating that is. Yet, she chooses life over death, which means eventual forgiveness and a conscious choice to be the bride of someone who loved her rather than the widow of a murdered man.

Yes, questions can swirl, but this amazing example can help steady us as it steadies them.

Thankful for the forsythia today as it shows a spark of a fuller future flame which Tom enjoys in most abundant Life.  Amen.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Helicopter pilot

Landing spots. Perhaps our autism kids are helicopter pilots, especially those with the "comorbid" (and surely there's not a more lovely word in the English language!) condition of ADHD.

I keep trying to visualize a place, a shelter with a roof and all, but maybe I'm thinking of the wrong  thing. Maybe our kids are helicopter pilots.

My son's landing was the local recreation center for a job lasting ten months. He somehow brought his helicopter down (or maybe God was in the controls or a persistent mom), but his flight vehicle came down and blew some grass and some rabbit ears as he settled on ground. And, he jumped out, and for awhile, there was a man there who welcomed him in. He was a man who could have shot him down from the sky, but he didn't.

And, my son got used to the earth and its smells. Other inhabitants greeted him, "Hello!" and he smiled a little smile and found an occupation of pulling weeds and wiping down dirty plateaus. Every single day, he would show up, having dropped earth pebbles to find his way since he couldn't look down from on high any more. But, he did it and consistently too and on his own which was really an accomplishment! He wondered if he could become settled down away from flight, although he loved the sky, but it had its moments when the stars and the clouds were beautiful but cold&remote.

However, he started forgetting a few things because planet life was not the same as atmosphere life. And several times the man saw him and he shook his head. On the surface of earth life, we must behave as if we will always be able to stay. We must be and do like those without wings; we must be like the industry of the ants and must resist imitating the whimsy of the mosquito. Someone else on the ground told on him for being a mosquito when really he was in fact a helicopter pilot all along. Maybe a royal helicopter pilot unknown.

So the man finally had enough and showed him to the landing spot. Rather, he had someone else show him there because he was too preoccupied with his ants. And, when my son got to his helicopter, he knew well enough that he would lift up, look down, and wave goodbye because after all as a helicopter pilot one becomes closer to the high, the wide, the deep, and the long vista which no one else was able to love experience or see.

Therefore, flight, up high, beautiful skies, the real life. Until perhaps one day, a new landing spot is perceived. Helicopter pilots always need to refuel and reprieve. They always want to meet someone who knows enough to care about the pilot who has come floating in by the air.

So, late at night, here's wishing and praying my helicopter pilot can be happy in both states, and, for me, I am going to resist defining the all elusive, the all frustrating, the entirely limited earthly view of  "Place."

Good night.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Bad news of today

It is Good Friday, and we are home. Our eyes should be upon the cost of the cross today. The suffering of Jesus. All that He carried for us as he showed up on the hill, plagued by sins, sickened by incriminations, spat upon, beaten, split open. The ugliness of the world festering upon his mind and skin.

In today's world, we push an icon and news of the world enlarges quickly into print and into an imprint upon our psyche. The news generators have quickly realized that the gruesome news gets more "hits." As a steady diet, we take in stories about sexual abuse, murder, depravity of all kinds. For me, I feel sympathy and disdain as I, on some emotional level, react to what I am reading. I carry with me afterwards more fear of the world, of the dangers of people, of the hopelessness of being human. I must get something out of it, as I continue to read and make myself aware. However, I am aware too that this is an unhealthy concentration, and I'm following a trail of human blood that the news sources have laid out, having enough material to do so.

Therefore, when I think of the crucifixtion of Christ, I can relate to it well enough. Evil overtakes good. Good is victimized. Good is mocked. Good falls. Good dies. But, the story is not one of senselessness. Within this story, a willing martyrdom means that forevermore all the bad news of the world has another twist -- Christ knows that we desperately need a way out of this mess. Jesus knew that this toddler boy would be starved by his mother. He knew that this young girl would be raped by ten men. He knew that this good upstanding Christian man would be shot when opening his door to an ex-prisoner.

He knows of the world's suffering, and he displays kindness through his willingness to die, miserably, upon the cross for those who suffer and, even, for those who shell out violence. We are given a choice to choose to translate the world's violence through the writing of the cross. Through Jesus' outstretched body language. Through the arms that holds the dearness of innocence, the one who cries, all of the wailing of the world.

Oh, Jesus, let us be grateful for the escape you offer, and help us to penetrate the reality you offer on this good, good Friday in which you overcame our evil.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Ark roads

We drove towards the trees of eastern Texas, stopping at Boston for McDonalds. Then, my husband drove across the border and found the little road that led up and over, straight ahead and around a corner, to Arden Cemetery, in Arden, Arkansas. Most of the people in Arden were the dead ones.

The cemetery sat around the area where his dad had run around with his eight siblings, all barefoot, all poor, destined to run away or die, or live until they were 90.  We stomped around the mounds, peering at names, subtracting dates for age, noting the veterans, until we found them clustered to the front side. The judge, his wife, their children. My husband pointed down, explaining family relationship to our son who came from them. If they had not lived, we would not have existed to stop.

Our little snap of time in the reality of lineage and common folks quickly ended, and we left, driving towards our own time-slip existence, a bit more aware, yet always in the fog of really knowing or remembering.

We drove upwards into Arkansas, going through Paris. We went by a trailer house with a shack in front of it. Big black spraypainted letters announced:  "Sorry I'm too poor to be a Republican." Oh you funny hillbillies. Goodbye. I'm leaving with a smile to my own existence, my own slip in time, thank you for a moment. Best wishes with yours. I hope you have a dog beside you in your easy chair. I hope you benefit from Obamacare.

Then, we finally found Clarksville. We found the university for a visit. We found the center for our visit tomorrow. I laughed at the irony of the words blazed across the center's doorway:  Center for Special Learning. Special is the word detested most by my son.

It's almost bedtime in the hotel, which those in the cemetery do not have to worry about. Our lives rush on, and we must clink forwards into our own meaning, engrave our own time between, believe we have futures always ahead. This is life. We have a road to follow and a hope to breeze ahead of us.

So, thank you, Arkansas, for your straight and windy roads today. Many views for many thoughts as life moves on.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Planet Plano

Now we are in a downtown Dallas, waiting for a Mavericks / L.A.Clippers game.  A birthday gift for my husband.

It has been a happy day in Texas. The wait in Plano panned out.  The boy likes the place. It could possibly be The Place! It  fits him in many ways:  no college classes required, just straight-up, high-tech training.  We met three other computer nP students who attested that they liked it there. These autistic young adults are so cool.  I loved them all.  And, I loved the leaders.

Guess what?  They are Christians. I think this sealed the deal for all of us once we talked about our faith openly. Maybe God does make some things clear. Even my reluctant-to-change husband was swayed. The son said he could envision living and working there. He could get an apartment close by maybe with a roommate. We are all imagining that this is possible.

Afterwards, we ate at one of the myriad restaurants (we had even shopped earlier). Perhaps Plano is the best place on the planet for my son. And, not a bad place for the parents to while away the time and spend some well-placed money.

We shall see.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Placed in Plano

I see a big American flag from my window; it's puncturing the flat landscape where cars dart across my La Quinta window view. We have been bored in Plano, Texas for a couple of days now and wonder, "What do these folks do for fun?"

Yesterday, I did see an old friend (which was fun), and she said that people in Plano shop and eat. All the full parking lots corraborated her story. Could we become shoppers and eaters in Plano, Texas? Could we find spiritual or cultural depth here amongst its people? Probably. But from the view of a hotel fourth floor room, one wonders (especially when there is nothing exciting to do or see or climb).

Today, we go to nonPareil Institute, a place for kids on the spectrum. A place. Those are huge words. Words that streak in the dawn, in a petal, in a mansion, a shack, a clod, an air current -- everywhere there is a place. But, for my son, where? Yes, with us. But, then, where? Elusive, appearing, wavering.

nonPareil became known through master Google, and I followed up, called, and after months and interviews later, we meet the people today. We will see if my son can develop computer skills within the care of these folks (if they accept him, and us them). Can he go beyond what seems a life of very menial work? Can he develop apps, games, etc?  A place, a place.

But, then we might have to send him to Plano, or we might need to become Plano-ites. Could my husband and I have similar minds to make the move, or will we always hold one another back (in the right place, in the wrong place)?

We have five or six hours before meeting the people. What shall we do in Plano? It's 34 degrees. There's always South Fork, a tv house. I think there's a trail somewhere. Seems like we're waiting for La Quinta to expel us into the right decision, and, perhaps, when we empty out, we'll know. But, I doubt it. Sometimes, many times, we move through this world darkly.

However, God's hand is in ours no matter our decisions, going with us everywhere. We choose, win or lose, and He is there. Here in Plano, Texas, He is here, and, although we don't perceive his knowledge of what to do yet (and I don't know if we'll be smart or spiritual enough to discern), He is here, even if we're shopping and eating and searching for Place here in Plano.