Monday, May 31, 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
My sea is stirred up. Again. Stormy seas are common enough circumstances around here that a sign has been posted in the kitchen that reads, "You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf." This pretty well describes a best-case-scenario attitude, and it came to mind as I was reading these verses. The Sea of Galilee was a lake located just right to have winds stir up some pretty impressive waves. Being tossed around was to be expected there; yet, it still gave the disciples cause for fear. Jesus cropping up miles from land in the midst of the storm probably had some pretty good heart-attack potential, too.
I am identifying with the disciples being tossed around in the boat today as waves of fear wash in only to retreat in the face of faith. The back and forth brings a feeling makes for some unsettling sea-sickness. Today, I wonder if it is better to stay in the boat green with nausea and holding on for dear life. Or to simply ride out the motion much as a laboring mother endures contractions until she eventually gives birth. Or if there's a surf board out there with my name on it if I'll just take a leap over the side. Whatever response is chosen, I am grateful to know that my boat is in no more danger than that of the disciples rocking along on the Sea of Galilee. And that Jesus is always right alongside.
Typically, I am not a fan of extra credit assignments. The expectation in our household is that assignments will be done to the best of one's ability. If an "A" is within one's capability, then an "A" is expected. If a "C" requires hard work and every effort, then we celebrate a "C". Whatever the end result, work is to be done on time, and well.
In this instance, it was a pleasure to see Katie hunched over the desk in the kitchen working on her letter to Ryan-in-Afghanistan. This morning, I wrote out my own letter. The page ran out before my words. Katie's overall grade is fine, and she may not need the extra credit. We both needed the chance to stop and be thankful for the men and women fulfilling their assignments and commitments as servants in the U.S. military.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Level 4 begins with the player hopping up and down on one foot to pull on shorts standing on the landing of the stairs while trying not to get in Little Bit's way as she slowly takes the stairs two at a time without bending her knees. Player is holding the next load of laundry for the wash in the arm not struggling with the shorts. (Perhaps Player wins extra arms, hours, or hired help at later levels? Or maybe that's a bonus that comes with finding the lost cup of coffee?) The fourth
Laundry stays in a pile where one of the previously mentioned furballs will no doubt nest leaving behind massive quantities of hair to clog the washer and dryer. Little Bit, who has finished traversing the stairs with her odd gait, silently takes the flyer and heads to the recycle bin. Mommy goes to find the cup of coffee that is no longer too full since a third of it was earlier deposited on Mommy's shirt before the one-armed shorts wrestling match on the stairs began. Refilling the coffee cup, Mommy slides onto a stool for further caffeination to re-up Player's energy tank before pushing "restart" to take on the racing game "Carpool Line".
Monday, May 24, 2010
Five of us met last week for the first time. There are two more ladies who may join us this week, and one who is missing. (Yes, L, I mean you. I read strings of words like, "firestorm of frustration," and I think of your new life.) A motley assortment of women should make for some interesting weeks whatever topics the book might offer. Last week, we introduced ourselves. One may find confirmation that she is called to precisely what she is doing now. Another is a lump of clay that has been thrown back onto the Potter's wheel, and there's no telling what shape she will take until the wheel stops spinning. A third is in a transition spanning years, and she will eventually have to choose a path. The fourth has a big heart, but is still something of an enigma. And the final woman in the room does not believe herself to have a holy discontent to bring to the table.
There are certainly moments that everything within rises up in an internal firestorm of rebellion against that which is utterly wrong. My soul shrieks. My heart deflates, threatens to explode, hurts... These moments are not tied to oppression like Martin Luther King, Jr or Mother Theresa's helping the destitute receive medical care or die with dignity as noted in chapter 2. I get the concept. I am just in what seems to be a warming tray sort of a time rather than being thrust directly into the flames. That could change next Tuesday. In a heartbeat. Or on some other random day yet to be revealed.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
This morning saw many of the same faces gathered at Dr. Tom's home where a semi was parked on the lawn. Pallets of goods were being loaded onto the truck and packed in as tightly as possible to be driven to Houston. The items loaded were a disparate mix of the various goods needed at the House, and a few items being transported for the Waits family in their upcoming move. Appliances, cabinets, a counter top and sink were loaded along with wheel chairs, clothing, bicycles, industrial drums of bleach, and bags of pinto beans. (I just took pictures while everyone else worked. My excuse is that all the tasks were already assigned.) The volunteers put in hours loading the truck.
Once the last boxes were stacked, and the final piece of equipment crammed into a crevice, everyone stepped back so the doors could be closed. A few cheers and much clapping broke out. The container will be met by eager recipients a month from now in Puerto Lempira. Exchanging hugs and farewells, the workers separated to go their separate ways again after having come together once more for the children of the House of Hope.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
On the way to take the almost fourth grader to school this morning we had a brief conversation. It went as follows:Little Bit: "Mom, why do you always talk to everyone in our neighborhoods?" Mom: "Because some people don't have anyone else to talk to... and they might be lonely. If I take time to listen to someone who has no one else to talk to, how do you think they might feel about that attention?"
Last night, on the way home from youth group, Middle Child and I also had a conversation (Conversation with a 13 year-old is different from the give-and-take with a 9 year-old.) along these lines:
Last week with The Boy he showed recognition, that once would have been absent, of how his actions affected another person:
The Boy: "I sure would like to see Joe."
These three conversations speak directly to my mother's heart. These kids are kids, and as such, are often egocentric; yet, they choose to see the needs of those around them. One is questioning and learning, but her elder siblings are practicing. One can only imagine what growing maturity will bring to this fledgling compassion.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Not-so-good news: Boo. Hiss. My liver is not quite alright on the sonogram this week.
I don't know a blessed thing. It's off to the GI doctor. It's a progressive process with the poking and prodding around here. The immunologist got first dibs, but she shared with the general practitioner who in turn allowed the radiologist to live vicariously through the sonogram tech. Why not add in a GI doctor at this point? Everybody wants to poke my belly and my rib cage. It would be nice if someone could fill me in on why, though.
Thinking of hope and powerlessness, The Boy is actually slated to return home to us a year after the shock of his removal. He currently visits on weekends, but in June he will be home. We will be a family again rather than a group of individuals recovering from the Boy's poor choices. This was our hope. It was our purpose. Sometimes the hope would slip, the tears would come, and the current of powerlessness would threaten to drag one or all of us under. Even then, the purpose would remain to keep one from paddling aimlessly. We've been over the rocks and over the falls, but perhaps there is a still quiet place ahead as the river narrows. A place where we can simply float for a time to recover our strength.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
All this to say, tomorrow night is barbecue chicken night around here. Yummy for us. There will also be enough to provide John and Lisa with a meal or two, and John with leftovers for his lunch Thursday. The same offer of a meal delivery has been extended to the second set of parents reaping the rewards of a pregnancy well-spent. The kitchen, and quite possibly the whole house, is going to smell like a barbecue restaurant. The fridge already looks like one with all the goodies marinating on the bottom shelf.
I? Am hoping to enjoy the dinner, too. At least part of it. Final results from yesterday's ultrasound are due today, but based on not ending up in the E.R. over the weekend (Thanks to the super yucky liquid + rice + applesauce diet of the past weekend and fasting Monday until 2:00 p.m.), my M.D. seems to think this could be the second self-resolving gall bladder attack. Not in the mood for abdominal surgery, at the moment there is willingness to acquiesce to the less stringent dietary restrictions in place.
Teensy Confession: Okay, someone might have inhaled a Three Musketeers yesterday that is definitely not on the list of okay foods, but it was likely a one time thing following the general lack of calories over the three days preceding. Rationalization is sometimes an art form.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Sunday, May 16, 2010
"Peacemaker," popped into my head. Mmmm... definitely a favorite since life brings enough struggle without a contentious marriage, but discarded because of the possibility that it implied an inability to deal with conflict. That tendency was one long since put aside in favor of simply addressing any issue in a way that was usually kind and that honored the person with whom he might have a difference of opinion, belief, or desire. Each of these thoughts brought a flood of memories flashing along with words that were not quite right, but revealed a theme. Mmmm... a-ha!
The mister's turn arrived, and he said the most extraordinary thing. The word he used was, "compassion." Eh? Say what? When we married, I believed tears to be dangerous things that betrayed weakness; yet, I cried all through our wedding. Here was this man who knows my heart recognizing that my heart breaks for what breaks others' hearts, and that he likes that seeing others' needs spurs a response to pray for them and to seek some method of assistance. Huh.
My word for him? Integrity. This man has chosen to chase after Christ rather than merely acknowledge Him with a token nod. The mister does not simply attend church, but he lives what he says he believes. He is what he presents himself to be in the setting of our marriage extending outward to the least intimate relationships.
On the way home, we talked about how very different these descriptions of one another were from those that would have fit us as a bride and groom, or in the early years of marriage when our children were small. It was striking to discover that those traits least evident in each of us in the beginning of our relationship (characterized more by my selfishness than giving and his passive aggression rather than straight-forward conflict resolution) had slowly evolved as we grew closer and remained steadfast in our commitment. It was a moment to savor the differences in us and our relationship, and to anticipate what further growth may come.
Friday, May 14, 2010
Uh-oh. Gall bladder still in place. The good doctor suggested that it would be wise to visit my GP and have my gall bladder checked. The fairly obvious classic symptoms of a gall bladder under siege were entirely apparent in an on-going pain under neath my rib cage and shoulder blade. And the nausea and what followed that did not go away. Had one of my kids had the same combination of symptoms, they'd have been in a doctor's office. And not after a couple of weeks either because I know what symptoms preclude a gall bladder or an appendix going bad versus the more common gas, heartburn, or upset stomach.
So. The weekend will hopefully pass uneventfully for my belly thanks to a clear liquid diet sure to avoid any gastrointestinal distress. Monday will be a day for fasting until a sonogram in the afternoon confirms or denies the suspected badness of my gall bladder. My GP has already called and arranged for a surgical consult to follow the ultrasound in expectation that the gall bladder will need to go.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Maybe the mister satisfied his sweet tooth while on his travels? He was going to use a different method of payment for reimbursable travel expenses, but that sounded like a personal charge. Call placed. Voicemail left. Text sent. No response. Well... hmmm. Patience was exhausted after all of twelve seconds.
Contacting our bank, it was determined in a very Big Brother moment that the charge was made by a complete swipe of the card's magnetic strip without a pin number in Grapevine, Texas with the mister's card number. Yeah. Um. Again with the no unless someone made a really quick trip across multiple states for baked goods?! The mister phoned home just in time to be told that his debit card was closed out. He confirmed that he was, in fact, still in Utah and cookie-free.
Kudos to our bank for immediately shutting down the compromised card, making a provisional credit, handling the reported fraud immediately and without hassle thus far. The bank's appropriate response felt insufficient. I was overwhelmed with the urge to change every electronic password and run the shredder until it begged for mercy. Ugh. There may also have been a smidgen of overprotectiveness of our information sheets at the orthodontist's office. Good news: I refrained from crouching in a corner huddling over the 8.5X11 sheets covered with personal data and from singing loudly to cover the voice of the new receptionist verifying our insurance. Better news: The new receptionist realized that she should be making that phone call in private before she babbled out our social security numbers and dates of birth.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Yesterday was a strange day for this phenomenon. The mister and I purchased a tube of toothpaste at the drug store. The register spewed out a coupon for a free chocolate bar. Okay. There is at least a connection there. Four messages arrived via snail- and e-mail for different products and resources: infant formula, Communion supplies (Yes, as in, "Do this in remembrance of Me..."), Fair Trade coffee special values, and Viagra. Really?! News flash for marketing professionals: the baby is nine, we receive Communion at church, and we are more likely to need something for a headache tonight than those little blue pills. (The mister is away for business. If eiter of us needs the little blue pills, he r she will also need the communion supplies... or perhaps last rites.) If we were on a game show, the coffee would be our only (ding, ding, ding!) winner.
Monday, May 10, 2010
It was to the verses before those cited as reflecting Mommy's Greatness (*coughing fit to cover peals of laughter*) that attention was drawn. (What kind of a mother fails to bask in the joy of a little Mother's Day praise!? Apparently, this one.) Onto the soapbox, and away Mom goes asking the family to please consider the charge before the Yay-Go-Woman verses to speak up for the mute, to step up for those of low status, and, "...to defend the rights of the afflicted and needy."
There are no limitations to who might be meant in these verses. The suburban mother who "has it all", but is hollow beneath her veneer is entirely needy. The little boy who has spent the past year at House of Hope in Honduras loved by a long-term volunteer who leaves today is about to be afflicted. As is the young woman who leaves him behind. Women trapped in a life of slavery in the sex industry are mute. Only their eyes may truly speak. It is not one of these individuals (representative of whole groups of people) in need, but all of "them"--- and too many more who call out for relief. The past weeks have been swallowed in a pervasive sorrow in response to prayers that God open up my eyes to that which breaks His heart. The temptation to squeeze eyes filled with tears tightly shut tamped down repeatedly.
Teaching my own children that they have the potential to speak up for those who are needy matters. To develop compassion and to have eyes that do not bounce off of poverty, hopelessness, or sorrow is preparing the next generation of Christ Followers. That they will be forces for Christ who spread the news of Him through simple care and kindness will not necessarily happen by chance. Teaching and training them to such as that is the kind of Mom I find in Proverbs 31. I just needed to back up and see what came before the woman whose value is beyond rubies to the words of a mother seeking to impart wisdom to her son for the expanded model which I hope to follow.