Tuesday, June 29, 2010

fun with grandpa 06/29/10

Yesterday Grandpa had lunch later than usual, due to a morning full of visitors, which he loved.  After the last one left, I pretended to forget his lunch,"Well!  What a morning!  You must be tired.  Are you ready to have your feet up now?"  His eyes got big as he looked at me and said, "What about lunch?"  The problem with that joke is that I forget things so often he can't tell if I'm joking or not.  So today, 10 minutes before lunchtime, he looked at the clock and tapped his watch and looked at me and said, "It's about lunchtime."  I got the hint.

After lunch, I asked him if he wanted dessert.  Grandpa is a huge vanilla ice cream fan.  He said, "Have you heard of this thing they have now, called ice cream?"  I said, "No, I'm not familiar with that."  "Go look in the freezer and it'll say "Ice Cream"," he said.  I went to the freezer, my back to Grandpa, and when I opened the door, he softly called, "Ice cream!"  I laughed and brought him a freezer bag that said "HAM" instead, and he laughed, too.

Grandpa said he saw an ad for "Leave it to Beaver" on "DVB."  I'm going to assume he means DVD, not BVDs, and look in the appropriate section.

Monday, June 28, 2010

choosing life and Grandpa 06/28/10

When I left the house today to walk the dogs, I realized I'd forgotten my glasses (I don't need them in the house.)  So I walked a little bit more by faith today, but was also pleased to notice things through my senses of hearing and smell that I'd missed before:  the smell of lilacs in a neighbor's yard, the sound of a sprinkler, the sound of squirrels scrambling through a tree and the tree's rustle of the leaves.

The hospice chaplain came to visit Grandpa today, and while he was there Gpa told him that his church's pastor was going to visit today, too.  I said, "You'll be all religioned up after today, Grandpa!"  The poor chaplain didn't quite know how to take that.  Grandpa really appreciated the time and the prayers with both men (and the pastor's wife).  He also enjoyed showing off his new great-grandson!

Further life choices for today...I'm drawing a blank...I guess that's it!  :)

more stuff I wish the dogs could understand

"I believe I am actually here on earth to do more than cater to your every desire."

"I'm the Mama, so I get dibs on the covers and that is my pillow."

"If I didn't give it to you, don't eat it."

"Get a job."

"Your barking does not seem to be having any effect on the creature you are barking at.  It's time for a new, quieter tactic.  Speaking of which, how's that pawing furiously on the window to get out working for ya'?"

things I wish I could explain to the dogs

I do not have a secret escape hatch in the bathroom.  I promise to come back, and I do not need your assistance.

If you get out of my way, you'll get your treat faster.

If you go in the creek, you'll get hosed off afterward.  That's the deal.

(When I'm taking one to the vet and leaving the other behind in a fit of panic or jealousy):  We are not going anywhere fun and I promise not to abandon you.  I love you.  I would never abandon you.  And even if I did abandon you, I certainly wouldn't leave you the house, so relax!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

the retreat - day 1 - Jan. 8, 2008

Journal:  5:00 a.m. - I just woke myself up snoring for the 2nd time in my life - so much for my "silent" retreat. 

Before I turned on the light I saw the outline of a tree against the south window - very nice - but God's invitation to me to recognize and give thanks for that, see it as one of his many gifts, and to move into further communion with him?  That seems too sweet, too...what's the theological term?  Too much everything happens for me, for us, and is God telling us he loves us....The wind is blowing, that's God telling me he loves me?  Or is it a reminder of God's love and care for us and the earth, a love that constantly exists, a reminder that he is always there to commune with?

The shadow of the tree looks like a hand, rather skeletal, but after my earlier musings my first thought was that it is God's hand, Christ's actually, because there is a rectangular hole where the palm/wound would be.  A hole like the one in the Trinity icon, an invitation to enter.  It is his protection of me here, it is his hand raised in blessing over me, it is Christ showing me that the work of redemption has been done, it is held up and placed on my window, on my head or shoulder, calling me gently to be still, rest and feel safe in the comfort of his love, the shadow of his hand, nail-pierced.  It could seem like a trap, a large, skeletal hand holding me in, but I know God's not like that.  (I choose to see it as) a blessing, an invitation to know him better, and a gift of himself and his peace.  I know the life with Christ is full of danger, heartbreak, dark nights, etc; this is not a promise to avoid that, but a command, 'though gentle, to realize to a deeper extent how safe, loved, and at peace I truly am, always, when I am resting close to him - close enough to be in his shadow.

Take, allow time to realize to my depths this truth - can take these 30 days +.

6:20 a.m. - went downstairs for cup of chai tea and found breakfast out...and my place at the table set and ready, waiting for me whenever I wanted to come.  I felt special, treasured, wanted, welcomed.

When I came back upstairs I went into the wrong room - 2nd floor instead of 3rd - was lost in thought and not paying attention until I set my cup down on the desk, looked around, and thought, where's my stuff?  Oh...  (My spiritual director says that when you begin to live more contemplatively, from that part of your brain, so to speak, you can become less "capable" (my word) of living in the more reasonable, logical way.  Let's hope that's what this is.)

7:00 a.m. - church bell ringing next door - a call to mass....From The Oxford Book of Prayer, ed. by George Appleton:  "We praise thee, O God...Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Sabaoth...of an infinite Majesty...also the Holy Ghost: the Comforter...."

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Lord...

8:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. - went for a walk - cold but ok when bundled and walking...saw hand-drawn map in MH about park/nature path several blocks away - headed to check it out and generally explore, get some exercise - about half-way as far as I needed to go west, and 1-2 blocks south (no trouble with directions today!) I saw a lovely, regal brick building at the end of the road several blocks south....I was drawn to it and walked toward it and continued general thoughts, including wishing I had a different song in my head than the Stones' "under my thumb" (?) - that's the only part of the song I know or can remember, so it was looping over and over in my head....at 11th Street, 2 blocks north of the brick building, I needed to head west to go to the park, but instead I thought, no, I want to see what this building is...got to the end of the sidewalk before I could read the words at the top of the gate/entry to the building's grounds - "Nazareth Convent" - I stood there looking up at the words with my mouth open, due to dumbfoundedness, the cold air, and a stuffy nose - God walked me straight to the convent, there was no other way to see it.

I tentatively entered the gate and took the sidewalks to either end of the building and peeked around the sides, then went to a gazebo centered in front of the bldg., dusted some snow off a bench, sat and spent about 20 minutes there.  Amazed and also not surprised...looked around, praying some.  A woman raised the blinds on a 2nd- or 3rd-floor window, one of a handful of windows I could see from the gazebo.  She looked out, down, and around, taking everything in, seemed appreciative, possibly lifted the blinds with anticipation.  The she looked up at the sky and I saw that her lips were moving.  "Pray for me, sister," I thought, and then I cried.  For my loneliness and pain over the years, not self-pity, but the sorrow itself.  Cried because I knew I had come to a place, inner and outer, with God, where I could cry.  Not for long, but enough.  Then I became aware of bird calls I was unfamiliar with coming from the large blue spruces on either side of the gazebo.  I put my glasses back on and watched and listened to the birds flitting in the trees.  Shelter, sanctuary.  Sensed that God had brought me out of the tears for now.  Was happy, thankful - not way up, just better.  Sorrow wasn't as deep as it could get....I knew/"suspected" that the sorrow would always be there, and one reason for it, for everyone's, is because of our separation, to some extent, for now, from God.  I knew I'd return to it and leave it many more times.  I wrote "Thank you" in the 1/2" snow on the sidewalk outside the gazebo when I left.

On the walk back I noticed cars parked in town with lights left on, then I realized the engines were running, at least one was unlocked - these places do still exist, thankfully.

12:00 - lunchtime - I am the only one having meals in silence!...Instrumental music was playing softly, and I turned the lights down some and had the room to myself - enjoyed the room and the food (ham & bean soup!) and found myself swinging my feet as I ate - another reminder of childhood - it isn't all lost, as I'd thought.

After lunch I spent 40 min. in the retreat house's library and made it through one 3-foot-long shelf.  Only 44 to go - how much time do I have again?  SJ said don't read for study, just do what leads to prayer, so my exploration was simply that - discovery, joy, and appreciation.

I feel at home with the way of life here, at least with my initial experience of it.  It feels very natural to me, and some part of me belongs to this.  Similar to when I discovered SMD (the field of teaching students with severe/multiple disabilities).  I feel as if I've found what I'd been looking for.

4:30 p.m. - walked 2 1/2 to 3 miles this afternoon

6:40 p.m. - at the beginning of my time with SJ, the "practicalities" time, I asked if I could go to the store and get the coffee I like to drink every day, or is that not allowed/would that hinder my "attitude" of prayer that I am to maintain throughout the retreat.  She said it was fine to go and get whatever makes me feel at home, just try to maintain the silence and the aware, prayerful attitude.  I enjoyed my supper at 5:30 and was out of the house by 5:55.  Went to local grocery and got caff.-free Coke, coffee, and chocolate-covered nuts and raisins.  Came back and opened some Coke, grabbed a mystery novel from the bookshelf full of them right outside my door (are you kidding me?  Heaven!), grabbed the choc. peanuts, and settled into the recliner in my room.  Was a bit unsure, though - was this an okay comfort?  A healthy recreational break?  Or a lack of discipline and endurance?  I asked God those questions, then quickly slammed that door shut.  If I should pray or journal instead, could you holler really loudly?  Not 5 min. later, I was surprised to find that the recreational mood had passed.  I put down the book, picked up my journal, and have been living righteously ever since.  :)  The break time was a good idea - it just didn't last as long as I assumed it would.

It takes me forever to get stuff down - mind is both processing and jumping off track....The Motherhouse, the motherlode, mother ship, mutha'....

choosing life 06/27/10

There is a book by Elaine N. Aron called The Highly Sensitive Person.  I am definitely an HSP.  I think of it as having only one layer of skin, rather than the many layers we actually have.  If you're a C.S. Lewis fan, it reminds me of Eustace in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  Eustace turned into a dragon, and when it was time to rip the dragon skin off and become human again, Aslan had to help him, and at first it "smarted like anything."  Or think of a scab that you rip off too soon, and then begin poking at the wound with a stick.  The past couple of days I've been choosing life by saying "no," to walking the dogs, phone calls from friends, visiting family, etc., but I think it was the right thing to do.  When life feels like lying on a bed of nails instead of a mattress, I withdraw for a while, rest, recharge, and get ready to live in the world again.

Today I walked the dogs again and enjoyed their excitement, seeing how the ducklings have grown - I can tell which are male/female now - and a single white wildflower on the bank of the creek (as we jogged/splashed by in duck-chasing mode) that resembled a pansy, I think.  Or a chim-pansy - hee hee.  Sorry, just got back from being with Grandpa and watching "The Apple Dumpling Gang" together - still in silly mode.  I have been a huge fan of Tim Conway since I was little.

On the way home, I also observed and enjoyed a dad and two children, ages 3-5-ish, clean what I think was a pool liner spread out on the lawn.  Dad had the brush, littlest kid had the 409, and "biggest" kid had the hose.  Spray, scrub, rinse - it was really sweet.

Goals for today are to send several emails then cool down the house and take a nap with the boys - it's Sunday!

Friday, June 25, 2010

the retreat - arrival - Jan. 7, 2008

From journal:  Preparing to leave for retreat this afternoon with happy anticipation.  I know fear and desire to sleep/stay in bed are still there, but they're hiding for now....

8:00 p.m. - Was almost teary when I left the boys and was a bit surprised by that - I knew I'd miss them but was also ready for a break....(On the way to Concordia) I got gas in Salina and realized I'd be cutting it closer than I'd planned to arrive in time to settle in before the 5:30 p.m. dinner.  Called Manna House and Sister B. said no problem, just come in when I get there, I'd probably only be 5 minutes late.  Then I glanced over to the passenger seat and realized I still had the bag of eggs, eggshells, and fast-food remnants I'd meant to throw away at the gas station (so they wouldn't stink up at home for a month).  So I pulled over at a rest stop to toss it - I knew I'd forget.  I pictured myself walking into a silent meal at MH, late, shouting, "Sorry I'm late, but I brought eggs!".  Then I tried to decide if it was better to speed and get there on time, with the sisters knowing I'd sped, or interrupt the meal.  I ended up driving 75-79 mph, and got there at  5:35.  So how fast does SB drive?

Of course, things were more laid-back then I expected - gotta' learn to better trust/listen to what I "suspect" - there were only 6 of us total and it was okay to talk during my first meal.  I just wondered - am I the only one who will be eating in silence here?  My place will be at a separate table from now on, and they seemed to find talking natural.  So much to learn.  I am thankful for the sisters' graciousness and kindness.  I have a slight nervousness about being in a new place with new people, but actually I feel more at home here than I ever have in a hotel room....I am glad to be here.

My task (my "word") for the next 24 hours is to relax, rest, and be aware of what is happening around and within me.

Went to get the rest of my stuff out of the car and couldn't get back into MH - kept pulling and pulling on the door, then stopped and looked at the door for a bit and realized I was supposed to push.  Yes, Sister J, I was aware....  I live in a Far Side comic.

Was thinking of how many of my book-buying sessions have had a mystical-ish element to them - buy this book, don't bother with this section, look carefully here, etc.  (It's) God clearly communicating to me and I can tell when I get off-track and want to explore another shelf - no, there's nothing there, come over here, we're done.  Discerning God's voice and my own ideas at these times....

Turn away from the voice that tell you you "shouldn't" do this and tune into the voice that says the way is within me... (not literal voices!)

as with kids with disabilities...I meet them, I enter a bookstore with an open mind and heart, empty of expectations - here's an open space for you to be in with me - I encounter and interact with you (person, bookstore, etc.) from an empty (?), hospitable, loving space - I want to experience you and get to know who you truly are - no masks, no assumptions or expectations - let's just be together - communion, prayer

choosing life 6/25/10

Celebrating the birth of a new second cousin (is that what cousins' kids are?) yesterday, Mom's birth 29+ years ago today :), the completion of yesterday's housework, and the return of Ozzy!

Ozzy is/was the neighbors' cat, but they generously shared him with the rest of the neighborhood.  Then they moved and left him behind.  That was okay, though, because Ozzy's an excellent mouser and I appreciated his services last year.  He was a frequent visitor for several months (funny how cats will do that when you feed them) then he disappeared for a while.  I saw him twice a few weeks ago, and he refused to come to me.  I figured he'd lost out on some territorial fight with the other neighborhood cats, and my house was out-of-limits.  But this a.m. he was there in the driveway again to greet me as I came out the door and accepted a belly rub.  The boys and I are glad to have you back, Oz!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

choosing life 6/24/10

They boys actually gave me until 6:24 this a.m. before we walked, at which point I could no longer resist what I call the Tibetan Stare of Death.  It is a practice I believe Oliver inherited from his ancestors (his breed originated in Tibet) who learned the Stare from the monks there, and passed it down to future generations.  I have never seen a dog who is able to stare so intently, for so long, without blinking.  He can literally make me squirm.  When I block him with a book or something, he moves to a place where he can see my eyes again.  So we walked!

I did NOT do the laundry or the dishes yesterday, so I AM going to go take care of them now.  (But you see how I came to the computer first?)  Okay, Ferdinand, time to do some work.

the retreat - Jan. 2, 2008

Journal:  Fear/anxiety alternate with happiness.  I'm guessing the fear has to do with the upcoming retreat and an unknown future.  There is pain, an ache in my chest; and my hands shake.  The happiness is for the possibilities ahead and the freedom.

Anxiety may be related to $ too....When I think about $ now I sense a dismissive, "Don't worry about the money."  I interpret, translate that into Z's style of dismissing something, so I hesitate to trust it, but beneath, before the style, the tone, I think the message is there from God, not just wishful thinking on my part.

I will not fear I will not fear I will not fear.  I don't want to be this alone.  But I am, and am not.  Can't I just go back (in time) and live a quiet, "regular" life?  Are you calling me away from that or am I tripping myself up?  Help me direct my attention to you, to where it needs to be focused.  Thoughts of living somewhere else are adding to the fear - don't necessarily need to deal with that now.  Question of where I'll live may be answered by what I'll do, if I learn that. (on the retreat)

Oliver is curled up into a tiny ball at my feet, under my chair.  Chester is lying next to my chair.

Fear/anxiety re: living elsewhere are surprising to me to some extent, because there is so much about that that I don't fear.

Be still.  And love.

Sending prayers, love, and comfort to remaining family members in a drunk driving accident in the northern US.  (Also hoping to share, without hurting myself, in their grief.)  I feel (sense my belonging in) this community - we humans around the world who hold each other when our times of tragedy come, cry with each other, and rejoice with each other, too.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

the boys and bunnies

I have a woodpile next to my shed, mostly large-ish dead tree limbs that have fallen.  It's become home to a number of rabbits over the last few years, much to my and the dogs' delight (for different reasons).  Chasing rabbits just might be their favorite pastime.  Fortunately, they're so bad at it that I'm not worried about the bunnies.  I'm thinking of getting a set-up on my fence in the back yard like they have at greyhound tracks; put a fake bunny on a wire and let the dogs chase it back and forth until they tucker themselves out.  :)  We've had some fairly interesting encounters with rabbits over the years:

When one of the dogs (usually Oliver) catches sight of a rabbit from the back door or porch, they tear into the yard after the creature.  Usually, Oliver heads counter-clockwise around the shed and nearby trees, and Chester goes clockwise - the better to catch the bunny with.  Except the rabbit invariably gets past them and runs around to the front of the shed or through a hole in the chain-link fence while the boys are still reconnoitering behind the shed, "Where'd he go?"  "I thought you had him!"  Sometimes if the rabbit stays in the yard, he pauses to catch his breath until the boys come back around, and then they all go 'round and 'round the shed again, and sometimes back and forth through the yard.  But eventually the bunnies escape through the chain-link fence.  But two of them almost didn't make it.

The first one led the dogs on a merry chase then bolted for the fence, the dogs close behind him.  But instead of slipping through a hole in the fence, the rabbit miscalculated and bounced off the fence back into our yard.  It was hilarious to watch the boys watch the rabbit, their heads arching as they watched the rabbit rebound back onto the ground.  Then they just stood there, stunned, "What are we supposed to do now?"  I've never seen a Keystone Kops film, but these two could nail the part.  While the boys stood there looking at each other, the rabbit collected himself and tried again, and made it through this time.

The second rabbit wasn't quite as lucky, but it could have been worse.  One evening around dusk, I heard Chester barking and growling frantically, and when I looked I saw both dogs were very agitated at the back fence.  I went to investigate and saw that a rabbit had gotten stuck in one of the holes in the fence and his rear end was at the mercy of the boys.  I dragged them back inside, then went to help the rabbit.  First I poked him with a stick, but, surprisingly, that didn't really help.  Finally, I took his back legs and hips and maneuvered him until he was able to slip through (if you find yourself in a similar situation, straighten the legs out directly behind the body, then the hips close in and the rabbit can get through).  The next day, the dogs went back to the spot to investigate, and Oliver found and began chewing with relish on something small, round, and white.  I realized I hadn't seen a tail on the rabbit the previous night, and although I hadn't seen any blood, either, I suspect Chester did the deed and Oliver reaped the reward.

Oliver is very sweet with baby rabbits, though.  Twice last summer he brought me a baby bunny that he'd carried inside from the back yard.  He put the bunny down, backed up a little, then sniffed it and poked it with his nose.  He acted friendly toward it, as if he wanted to play with or take care of it.  When I took the babies back outside and let them through the fence, I couldn't find any signs of damage.  I think Chester would eat them as soon as look at them, but Oliver seems to want to make friends.

We're all looking forward to more adventures in the coming months.  I wish I could say the same for the rabbits.

choosing life 06/23/10

The boys got me out to walk at 6:00 a.m. today, which turned out to be a good thing once I saw how warm it already was.  We had the usual fun and shenanigans.

Last night I lay in bed praying about the misunderstanding situation, and I became aware of a love springing up within me that was certainly not my own.  I was/am so thankful for that, and for the way it melts all the anger, hurt, and self-pity away.  This a.m. I read an email from the main person involved in the issue, and she defended her position but also complimented me and wished me well - she'd written it around the same time I was praying for her last night.  So, thanks to God, I think we are both able to put this to rest and move on and more freely live and love.

I have a meeting with my spiritual director this afternoon.  Our meeting last month was great; I'm looking forward to today's.

I also hope to choose life today by taking care of both the clothes in the dryer and the dishes in the sink.

I hope you have a great day.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

choosing life 06/22/10

Again, putting the goal to walk the dogs this a.m. on yesterday's post helped get me out the door.  And what a walk - this might be in the boys' top 10.  First of all, it took us 1-2 minutes just to get out of the front yard, because Chester was in full Ferdinand mode and sniffing everything.  Finally I told him this wasn't a day trip and we moved on.  When we got to the park, we startled the ducks (we do that just by showing up - nervous types) and 2 females herded several ducklings along the bank and into the water.  "Dogs!  Waddle!"  Other males and females stood guard, and several feet up the creek, a group of 5 or 6 males didn't budge.  "Honey, could you bring me a beer?"  The boys saw and tried to chase 2 rabbits, and they startled the blue egret when they came splashing around a bend in the creek.  They got extra wet and muddy today - no lying down on this adventure, there's too much to do!  I took special delight in watching the ducklings and the egret (not their fear, their being ducklings and an egret!); the walks are always a nice time for appreciation of and communion with God.

A friend emailed pictures of her own yard - she mows around flowers, too!  She has lupines, among other things - beautiful!

Today I also enjoyed/saw earth crammed with heaven in:
- a 2-ish-year-old girl sitting on her daddy's (I assume) shoulders at QT.  At first I thought she was asleep, she was leaning against his head and looking down, then I realized she was watching him fix his coffee with that focused fascination kids can have.  It was wonderful.
- Grandpa's and my enjoyment of watching Don Knotts reunited with Andy Griffith on a "Matlock" episode - he's a huge AG fan, and DK was as funny as ever

Isn't it hard when people misunderstand you and/or are angry with you, and you can't change their minds, and you have to let it go?  I really have a hard time with that.  But it's happening to me now, and I sense that, at least for now, I've done what I can except continue to pray for the people involved and let go of my desire for their understanding.  Ugh.  I hate this.  But I'm praying that I'll find God in the midst of this and remain with him.  I'm sure there's something I can learn from it all, too.

Goals for choosing life tomorrow:
walk dogs
be present, enjoy time with Grandpa
refuse to get caught up in the drama in my head and emotions re: the misunderstanding - remain with God

the retreat - Jan. 1, 2008

Journal 1/1/08:  "O Lord, only you can count all the blessings of my life.  I give you thanks for the gifts of memory and expectation, for pleasure that comforts and pain that brings needed change, for deep meanings revealed and for that which remains unknown because I may not be able to accept it, for variety and difference in my world, for melody and silence, for all my senses...and above all for the overpowering feeling that somehow I am loved and accepted by You and that nothing can separate me from that Love.  In Jesus' name I pray.  Amen."  Diocese of Syracuse

"It is the Lord who goes before you.  He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.  Do not fear or be dismayed."  Deut. 31:8

The fear last night and today is very strong - I feel it intensely.  Fear of?  Being alone, not only without family or friends but without God, too.  Completely, entirely alone.  I know the arguments, the scriptures to quote in response.  And they do help; I believe them.  But the fear returns, quite easily and quickly....

Questions for the retreat:
- what's next, practically speaking?
- what do I need to be more aware of: something I'm clinging to?  Is there more that I fear - loss of true self/identity?  Other sin blocking me?
- how much and what kind of healing and rest do I still need?
-learn how to better care for myself and allow myself to be cared for
- what are the extents and natures of my true needs?
- what do I want, most deeply?
- one purpose for retreat?  To recapture and enjoy being in love with God.

In her book Clinging, Emilie Griffin quotes Karl Rahner:  "You have seized me; I have not "grasped" you.  You have transformed my very being right down to its last roots and made me a sharer in you own Being and Life."

lot of talk about detachment in books related to the mystical way - something I remember wondering about in the past - when you are detached from earthly, temporal things you are so free for other things.

Griffin again:  "To be called to the heights in prayer, however briefly, is to sense a new relationship with God beginning, and to be afraid."  Holy fear...

Monday, June 21, 2010


If your kids need a science experiment for next year, here's a great idea:  When you leave a container of milk with some milk still in it for 6 months and 10 days past its due date, it springs a leak - and it smells!  When you leave milk in the fridge one month past its due date, a scary bulge develops on the side.  I'd originally said "no" to rinsing out and recycling the jugs, then put them in the fridge door and forgot all about them.  Hopefully tonight's adventure will cure me of that.  I think I sanitized everything pretty well - some of the milk leaked out of the fridge onto the floor, and the dogs got to it shortly before I did - it could be an interesting night.  I should probably start "choosing life" in the kitchen...

the retreat - Dec. '07

Journal 12-1-07:  Had a snatch of a dream of pulling over in a car and putting on the hazard lights and waving the car behind me to go around.  They were impatient with me, wanted me to keep moving forward and hurry up, but I needed to just pull over for a while.

Today I welcome this sadness (mild depression?) as a friend; not one to seek out and cling to, but one to recognize, reach out to, and walk with, because it helps me connect more deeply to myself and God.  It is familiar to me, and I am thankful for it.

I'm very thankful for the time I have to do this (inner) work and that this time is during advent.  Time to truly enjoy this season and hopefully a time of rebirth for myself as well.

(I'm afraid that being "well" means going back to a way of life and belief in which I feel trapped, a way that I don't agree with and which doesn't fit me.)  I think the resistance I have to being "healed" of anxiety and depression is also because I don't want to lose the depth, the insight they assist with.  I'm afraid that being well means being happy, bouncing along on the surface of life and losing the richness of an inner life.  Writing this out helps me see the holes in the argument.

I had to be the best SMD teacher out there - I didn't realize how critical that was to me until X came.  When I moved to Wichita, rumors like fire spread that I was some kind of superhero, "Kerri's coming, she's great...."  How do you know?  But I could not prove them wrong, could not let them see I was merely human.  I felt responsible for others' feelings/views about me, and I wanted desperately to be praised by others and to be seen as worthy of that praise.  And teaching was the only way, or the way I liked best, to do that.  So I dived into it, desperate to prove my worth.  Even though I could see the errors in that, even as I did it, the part of me that questioned this approach wasn't strong enough to stop the desperate part of me.  I only stopped when my body began to break down from the stress.

I was trapped (even as I sought to be free of old ways), and the fire of making myself do the work of teaching was a destructive one, not a refining one.  It burned my soul, my true self.

12-7-07:  Anxiety high the last few days....Fearful, too.

12-9-07:  Am really enjoying/appreciating the Holy Trinity icon I got B. for Christmas.  (M&D keep coming over unexpectedly to check on me.)  Sometimes we, myself included, say, "Are you alright?  I care for you," but we're also saying (without speaking it or even knowing it's there), "I want assurance," or "I want control - I want to know what's going on and to make this go away."  (I believe God would rather have us let go of all that and trust him.)

This a.m. as I was waking up I dreamed I was talking to someone, not sure about what, and a spider kept crawling on my arm.  I shook it off and turned back to the conversation, but the spider wasn't gone, wouldn't leave me alone, no matter how hard I brushed or shook.  I woke up to find it was actually Oliver's tail brushing me - I'd been flailing around and managed to get him with at least one glancing blow.  Poor thing had backed away from me some, but not enough to actually have to leave the soft comforter.  When I reached out to him, he quickly scooted backward, away from me, "No way, crazy woman!"

Dreamed I was living in an apartment....A woman showed up with her boyfriend and children and started moving their stuff in - cheap stuff.  I objected, but they kept bringing in more and more stuff; my stuff disappeared.  Another woman showed up...explained that the family had lost their home, had nowhere else to go....She tried to be a mediator between me and the 1st woman.  I said, "I don't care, I want them out of here, I never gave them permission to be here," etc. and I kept tossing their stuff back out the door.

12-10-07:  Went to the library to get on the internet and search for colleges and degrees in spirituality, formation, etc.  (Found one I liked, but the move, the $ required, it didn't seem right.)

12-11-07:  (am continuing to sift through my things, looking at everything now and considering whether to keep or get rid of it)  I want to simplify.  Quite a bit.  Have already made a pile of stuff to get rid of....Hard to know what to get rid of when I don't know what the next step is....A good rest/vacation still sounds nice.  Wouldn't mind loading my car with books, paper, and pens and going somewhere for a little while, but can't think of where.  Places I found on the internet don't seem right somehow.  There's something else.

12-13-07:  Read last four chapters of ----.  M. suggested it.  I don't like some aspects of that book, but it has good points, too.  It did help further root the knowledge in my heart that God really does love me, all of us, deeply.  And it helped me better understand that my shame and distress can stem from an idol of my own self-competence, of acting right, being a great teacher, etc.

J. called and we had a nice chat.  I appreciate her easy-goingness, acceptance, and love for me:  "I know that's who you are and I don't worry about it."

Had a good time at the library yesterday - more research on Ignatian retreats, schools - had to laugh at myself when I realized that a divinity/spirituality program that I liked and put on my mental "possibilities" list was actually a Catholic one geared toward men entering the priesthood.  (Also online, I) found a place in Concordia (KS) that does 8- and 30-day Ign. retreats and other things....Later I felt that the time at the library was well-spent - not sure specifically why.

Called Manna House in Concordia for more info. and made a tentative reservation for a 30-day Ignatian retreat.  Sister J (SJ) is sending info. and said if I do a 30-day retreat I have to be able to stand a lot of silence and be silent the whole time except for daily meetings with her.  I told her that shouldn't be a problem (understatement of the century).

Also saw info. today on trips to London for $499....I thought about renting a car there, then I pictured myself trying to drive on the left...

(Was also considering a number of other things related to my then-current lack of  income - moving, will I have to give up the dogs, etc.)

Don't worry about the $ that much...

Dreamed I was a visitor in a family's house.  The father was a cop.  A fellow cop went mad or was mad about something and broke in during the night when we were asleep and tried to kill everyone.  This could just be an extension of tv shows I've watched recently, but I think there's more to it.  To escape, I opened and cleared plastic and a screen off the bedroom window and crawled through (reminds me of Nouwen's comments on the rectangular window in the Holy Trinity icon, and of a dream I had years ago).  I ran for help.  The dad was in the house trying to get the guy.  Before the cops arrived, the mom had to keep dodging the intruder, which she did.  I thought how hard that must have been and how smart and strong she was to live with him in a sense, spend time in the same house with him and keep avoiding being killed by him.

Quote I like from audiobook I'm listening to (Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie):  "Miss Marple...began to deliver an old-maid-ish lecture comprising the most astounding statements in the most natural way in the world."

12-15-07:  I like what my advent book says about the people included in Matthew's geneology of Jesus - liars, cheaters, prostitutes, killers.  Also psalmists, people of faith, and some unknown to us.  God accomplishes his purpose with and through all of us, regardless of our "accomplishments."

12-17-07:  Good day shopping - searched high and low for some stuff M&D wanted to give B. and was successful.  How delightful it is when you find exactly what you were looking for after searching a bit for it.

12-18-07:  Writing my application for the retreat today.  Actually, it's taking me a while to get started.  I keep playing with everyone's Christmas presents.

12-22-07:  It was interesting to see the struggle I had to write my autobiography for the retreat.  Partially because it's hard to condense the info. into 1-2 pages, but also the distractions - I want to shop, I want to wrap presents, I'm suddenly very sleepy.  Eventually I stopped putting so much work into thinking and writing it out first and just sat down and wrote the thing.  I sense that it's fine and the timing was fine, too, though a few days later than I'd planned.

Had mild thunderstorm then snow, snow, snow!...6 1/2 inches - I have to force the back door open - fun!

I think about how neat it would be to write - and see - like Annie Dillard.  Then I think it would probably scare me to death.  How sad.  But it wouldn't have to.  Stop submitting yourself, abasing yourself, to (what you perceive as) others' ways of seeing and living.  Live as you are, were made to be, and don't obsess over it.  It's not my job, not even within my ability, to explain myself to people.

Several dreams lately of fear of intruders in the back yard and barricading myself in the house....  (Okay, if you're unfamiliar with dream work, the following may sound a bit weird.)  When I woke up I remembered I could've asked the guys breaking in why they were doing this - immediately an answer of sorts sprang to mind -  we were trying to break in through the door instead of a window because we want to enter your house through a door like all your other children (as relatives had in the dream).  They wanted to be validated, legitimized (?), have their true place in my house be recognized and acknowledged and be able to come and go like everyone else.  But I hadn't seen them as belonging - they wanted to hurt me, to kill me - they certainly tried in the fight to get in and they did hurt the dogs, but before things went that far?  My first thoughts are that these "thugs" represent a part of me I am not acknowledging and am trying to live without.  This is all old ground, but apparently the lesson still needs to be learned.

12-31-07:  Very sad yesterday for dreams lost - played DVD with Christmas Canon by TSO several times, over and over.  I broke down the first 3 or 4 times when the kids began singing, "We are waiting, we have not forgotten...."

(Later) After you mourn for what is past or what was never, will never be...after that, it is possible to look forward with hope.  We are waiting.  I have not forgotten.  Not to reclaim that which is over and gone and not meant to be again, but to discover, to live something new.

fun with grandpa and misc. - 06/21/10

I have finally convinced Grandpa to turn the TV up as loud as he wants it and quit worrying about bothering me.  Today he turned it up and asked me, "Is that too loud?"  "WHAT??" I joked.  "I-" then he shook his head and laughed.  The man is quick.

Twice today when I said I was going upstairs he said, "Do you know the way?"  The second time I said, "If I get lost I'll yell for you - Grandpa, help!"  "Call 911!" he said.  I sure am going to miss this man - for a season, anyway.

Silliest thing I saw today:  man with leafblower (enough said?) walking on a curb into the wind, so that all the grass cuttings were blowing up and into his face.

choosing life 06/21/10

Took a break from the goal-making yesterday.  Didn't choose death, just chose to have a Sabbath and spend more time in prayer and reflection than in action.  Now I'm recharged and ready to go.

Ways I chose life today:
- took dogs on walk to park - the automatic resistance I had for this "chore" is much less now - I wanted to walk, but when I thought about the creek and hosing them off I didn't want to do it - then I realized it only takes a minute or so to clean them up, so I let them go in, and they had a great time - Oliver chased the ducks at first, then just lay down in the creek where the ducks come down the bank to get in - he decided he'd just wait for them to come to him, and he waited...oh well.  Maybe next time.
- (started this yesterday) am going through journals and retreat stuff from Fall '07 - Winter '08.  It's the first time I've done this since the retreat.  So far it's been really good to go back and review with an attitude of prayer and openness to God, also to see things I'd forgotten about.
- enjoyed time with Grandpa

I will be forever thankful for the wisdom that comes with age - as much as I have, anyway.  This choosing life thing is like forming any other new habit.  You start off in the honeymoon stage, and everything is so new and fun and you have so much energy that you begin sprinting, not realizing this is a marathon.  When you do realize you have miles and miles ahead of you, you (I) often just stop and give up.  BUT I saw that coming!  I think I've been pacing myself well, but I can see how the change within is sometimes tiring - I enjoyed my Sabbath yesterday, and today I forgot that a friend was going to call and turned off my phone and took a nap. (I'm sorry!!!)

Goals for the day:
None!  I figured out and downloaded music onto Mom's MP3 player this a.m. (she's hipper than I am - however, if something happens to me and someone discovers Barry Manilow's "Ultimate Manilow" CD downloaded onto my laptop, it's because I did it for MOM!!!).  I also did some writing and reading of my journals from the retreat this a.m., so I'm calling it good.

Goal for tomorrow morning:
Walk dogs again

Sunday, June 20, 2010

the retreat - Nov. '07

Journal 11-8-07:  Talked with --- on 10/26 about reducing my time in classroom because of over-stimulation, stress, and asked about different options.  He's talking to --- about possibilities.  I made appointments with doctor and counselor....Mon. I worked all day in (another, empty room) on ---.  It was a good day; I got the break I needed from the noise and busy-ness and wrote a good IEP.  Tues. spent more time with kids.  I knew, had known for a while, that the pressure was building again.  Wed. did not go in, had dr. appt. and was very distressed.  Didn't work Thurs. and Fri. and felt progressively better.  Good appt. with counselor on Fri.

11-12-07:  I'm going to leave the district and the FBC's.  It's clear the current job isn't going to work, isn't working now, for me or them.  Dr. talked about adding or raising meds.  That may turn out to be necessary, but right now it seems ridiculous to me that I have to medicate myself this much in order to do my job.  Since I feel fine (little to no depression or anxiety) in the summers (when I'm not working), I'm going to try changing the job and rebuilding my connection with God before I add more meds.

11-14-07:  Went in and quit today.  Am a bit sad and mad because I'm not able to live a "normal" life and keep a good job.  But I know this was the only thing I could do - I'm not willing to keep stringing the district and FBC's along and not be able to promise if/when I'll be able to work.  Not sure what to do next, though.

How much is a change of place necessary? 

"Active love is labor and perseverance, and for some people, perhaps, a whole science."  FD

At the bottom of this journal page I wrote the names of all my students as a way to remember them, pray for them, love them, and give them and their futures to God; the part I was steward of, anyway.

11-19-07:  A bit sad today, was more so after I wrote that last entry - I will be careful.  The tension's easing away bit by bit, and with it the rigid control with which I held myself together the last several weeks.  Relaxing little by little into more restful sleep and deeper emotion (vs. feeling numb).  Am thankful that I haven't had guilt or much uncertainty about leaving the district.  It was the only thing to do.  Had good talk with M. today.

11-25-07:  I am going through and getting rid of old stuff....Am also rediscovering old items which take me back to various times in my life....Especially when looking at class pics from grade school - remembering that little girl and feeling sad - remembering the things I took for granted and the beliefs and expectations I had that life was simple and good, and that I would always be well-liked and have "normal" things - husband, family, job - and do very well with them.  Also sad because I never realized, or fully appreciated, the things I did have - evidence of others' love and appreciation....Unable to fully appreciate, even sometimes unaware of the extent to which others cared for me....Wanting to move on from the mourning of broken dreams and a shattered world view and live with hope again, but without any agenda for what may come.

Wanting to flesh out, or allow and discover this hair of an idea I have been given that maybe all was not lost, not lived for nothing, lived completely in a fantasy that turned out to be false and therefore worthless.  That that little girl was right, in a deeper sense, in her expectations of the world, of this life, and that her deepest dreams can still be realized.

"Salvage" - save, trash, dump, transform, redeem, rebirth, bring out, clean up

Being thankful without criticism for what I've lived, whom I've known, what I've been given.

11-2_-07:  Anxious and sad yesterday and today.  Not fearing those emotions much, though.  I know they're part of the process.

Common themes right now - Jonah, God's persistence and love for J. and the Ninevites (?), do you have a right to be angry about _____; live from and with love, not fear; God's love for me; "conversations"/communion with authors through their books.

My self-protection shows that I believe if I do come out (choose life), the world/society/people will destroy me, that they are more powerful than me, that I cannot stand up to and through it all....But - I made myself face, confront, live, and function with my fears at work, thinking I would grow through that, and I did, but pushed myself too hard?  Or somehow didn't quite have it right?  Because I nearly destroyed myself, or was nearly destroyed.

As I meditate on Nouwen's words (in Praying with Icons) and the Trinity icon, I feel hope and happiness - the beginnings of them anyway - and sense a connection, a door opening, to God and Truth.

11-29-07:  Dreams about students and staff - want to understand why I have such strong anger and insecurity with X.  It's bringing out something I didn't know I had....I cling to the negative view of myself - unworthy, unloveable.  I revel in that to some extent, with self-pity.  Then I can comfort myself - poor me, no one loves me, no one could love you, have some junk food.  I know that's not True, but I choose to turn my back on that Truth because believing the Truth takes some faith, takes an acceptance that some of this belief (that I am loved and loveable) won't be verified in the earthly way.  It takes a willingness to be wrong, a risk that you will be hurt, and a self-confidence that chooses to move forward and live.

the retreat - Oct. '07

Journal 10-17-07:  Missing several days of work again this year.  Less due directly to depression or anxiety and more due to symptoms of them - strained back, cold, stomach problems.  Twice have missed a 2nd day due to not having the energy, etc. to face classroom duties plus the kids and staff and their needs.

the retreat - Sept. '07

Journal 9-30-07:  Dreamed recently that I met myself as a child - someone I'd wanted to know better, to find; she was a mystery.  I (the child) reached out to me and said it would be okay, she'd help me do or be something, can't remember what it was, but I'd be okay.

the retreat - August '07

Journal 8-4-07:  Spent Wed. & Thurs. settled in, phone off.  (Some family) worried, but I just needed a break and to begin getting ready for school.  Backed out of going to J&A's last night for same reason, and because B. fam. is meeting tonight.  I couldn't go to both, and I feel the B. fam. thing is more important now.  But I did miss seeing (other) B. and his birthday celebration.  Am sad about my limits and defensive, when I think of family's reactions, and working to grow thru it all and to truly love.

I'd been thinking I had another week after B&E left before school, (but teachers go back next week).  Today as I think of returning to school/work, I'm filled with sadness, and I want to understand where that comes from....I've had the best summer in a long time....That time is coming to an end....I'll re-enter the school, and the world/life of...well, the things that come to mind are mistrust, fear, stress, fatigue, emotional drainage.

It (the concern about starting a new school year) is also about interacting with people, the need to be "on" to  such an extent, for so much time.  As I learn to relax my perfectionism, redefine my expectations and learn God's better, some of the stress goes away.

8-16-07:  What a fantastic first day yesterday was!  We all went to the office together to hand out cards - 7 kids, 2 peers (high-school students helping out), 3 paras, me, and a nurse.  Whenever someone commented on what a big group we were, I said, "Yeah, and we're still missing 4 kids, a para, a nurse, and X is in the classroom!"  It will be crazy but good.

I feel much different so far.  Busy, sometimes, yes, but not lost in that, anxious.  I feel happy and free.

Drawn toward Reaching Out lately - this a.m. read of hospitality toward others.

How little can I be "in" my job without losing my job?  Don't get caught up in things that don't matter.

weird things I've had to say to the dogs

"If you want the treat, come get it.  I don't cater."

"No, you may not have a duck.  Let's go."

"Stop hitting your brother."

"Put the bunny down."

"Oompff - get off my kidney!"  (I was on my stomach on the bed reaching for something below, and Chester was curious.)

"Wait!  Ahhh, no, don't jump on the bed right after you were in the pool!"

the retreat - July '07

Journal 7-8-07:  Fears re: work/job:
 - loss of job, loss of income
 - failure - not meet kids' needs, not teach things that matter most
 - having a poor reputation as a teacher
 - keep job, but be restricted in some decision-making - a loss of control

If I don't have that control, what then?  But I do, I must have some, some ability to make decisions, create and develop programs....

I can't think too far into the future - I don't know what will happen.

I know there is fear in me related to the job, and I want to nail it down and eradicate it, overcome it, at least face and name it.

(Reflections on the Exodus):  So, hey Israelites (specifically the ones who had known nothing but slavery in Egypt all their lives), not only am I (God) giving you all these nitpicky laws because you're so new to this whole God/religious freedom/autonomy thing that you need precise instructions on how to live before you can own it and flesh it out for yourselves, but I'm also giving them to you because too much freedom after centuries of slavery would scare you to death and be harmful to you.  I love you, and you need the security of these laws right now.  For years you have been told how to live, breathe, and work, and you are not ready or able to make many healthy decisions for yourself right now.  But a time is coming when you and all people are ready, are able to bear it.  A time and a birth is coming, a new possibility, a new being, existence, which will enable you to live outside of these laws.  Not without, but outside, to use them as a tool, a skeleton, to internalize them and their essence and live, act, and decide without being dictated to.  Now I am within you, and you are turned right-side out again.  (These laws will teach you more about me, yourselves, and how we can live in communion.  So let's begin; I'll teach you as we go.)

What was I so scared of?
"Who holds our souls in life,
and will not allow our feet to slip."  Ps. 66:9

7-22-07:  S's birthday party yesterday.  The joy of seeing him and his family grow up.  The party, the other couples and families there, being the only single person - I isolated myself, lived out my feeling of isolation, wanting again to some extent, but not achingly so, to belong, to not be so different all the time, to have a family or a spouse of my own so that I could fit in....Other fears are also present - I dreamed of X. planning and doing things with paras and administrators and leaving me out.  Pulled out Reaching Out by Henri Nouwen and am able to view this place where I am with some objectivity, some love and compassion and hospitality.  Not react to it with a knee-jerk shame, but instead let myself be here and also slowly move out of it.

the retreat - June '07

Journal 6-9-07:  Why do I consciously refuse to return calls or answer letters or email, even as I wish for more and deeper communication with people, even with people I'm interested in interacting with?  It seems to spring from a desire for safety.  I'm protecting myself from getting hurt (how?), from losing my way, losing myself, getting off track.

I wrote a letter and an email that summer to a few family members, trying to explain my lack of communication and my desire to further separate myself from their ways of living and believing.  I didn't believe those ways were all wrong; they just weren't me.  As one woman put it, it's like the ugly duckling story.  I grew up thinking I was a duck, or a swan, or whatever, only later to realize I was very different, and that if I did not acknowledge that difference and live in my own way, my spirit would die.

the retreat - May '07

In November 2007 I abruptly quit my job as a teacher of students with severe/multiple disabilities.  From Jan. 7, 2008 to Feb. 7, 2008 I took a silent, 30-day retreat at a retreat house in Concordia.  The retreat had a significant impact on my life and spirit.  I've wanted to go back through my notes and journals from the retreat, but it never seemed to be the right time, until now.  As I remember and more deeply understand what led up to the retreat and what happened during it, I pray you are also encouraged or touched in some way, in your own life.

From my journal:
5-5-07 - What a week.  As I reflect on it and work to get past the anger into a more peaceful, quiet, objective view, I see my own mistakes or issues.  Tremendous, deeply-felt insecurity.  Being overly helpful instead of addressing problems.
(I was angry and frustrated about general school/teaching issues.)

5-23-07 - Wanting to point out another's flaws and my own accomplishments to people I fear are hearing otherwise.  Fighting the fear and struggling to relax and let my actions, behavior speak for themselves.  Trying to face what I do need to improve without it crumbling me.  And wanting to be beyond it all, over it.

I was stressed-out and exhausted by the end of that school year.  I hoped the summer would give me enough time to relax, return to a calmer frame of mind, and give me enough rest so I could be charged up and ready to do it again in August.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

choosing life 06/19/10

Just finished mowing my front yard, except for a little patch on the side.  The mower quit before I did.  But I did it!  I also changed the boys' pool water before I mowed - since that's my usual practice, it counts, even though I had a goal to do it yesterday.  :) 

I have been pleasantly surprised at how helpful this goal-setting and blogging has been for me.  Last night I looked at my bills and thought about putting off that task - choosing death.  But then I thought, no, I don't want to live like that anymore, and that thought/desire plus the accountability of the blog helped me get them done.  Hopefully, this system will remain meaningful and helpful to me for a while (therefore I'll keep it up).

I just realized I have little sunburn blisters on my upper arms.  It's a good thing the mower quit.  There's that synchronicity in life again.

Yesterday I met three of my new neighbors, kids roughly ages 3, 4, and 5.  We chatted for a while and they petted the dogs.  This a.m. while I was mowing, the kids came out on their front porch to say hi to me.  I smiled and waved, but kept going; I was close to the end and tired.  Their mother came out to call them back in, and at first I chose death - I turned my back on her and kept mowing.  Then I changed my mind, stopped the mower, and introduced myself.  We had a short chat and I learned she has 5 kids total. (!)  I just realized that I told her if she ever needs anything, let me know - but I didn't tell her I don't babysit.  Oops.

When I mowed the rest of my back yard (mostly) a week or two ago, I decided to leave some of the plants I like with the little white flowers all over them.  So the yard behind the shed has short grass with a few tall plants sticking up here and there.  Looks a bit weird, but I like the compromise.  Yesterday, when I was chatting with my new neighbors, the 5-ish-year-old boy said he'd see me tomorrow, and I said you probably will, since I'm going to mow tomorrow.  "Be careful not to mow down those trees," he said, pointing to my tall "weeds."  He gets it!

Other ways I've chosen life today:
- Opened the door when the census worker knocked and gave her my information (I know, I'm a bad citizen).  For the last year-ish I've been ignoring anyone who knocked and had no car or a car I didn't recognize.  Partially for safety and partially because I'm a recluse.  But I'm glad I opened the door and interacted with her today.
- Opened the door a second time for the census worker and told her what I knew about people across the street.
- Well, I've done it now...I just opened the door for a 3rd time, and there were 4 kids selling lemonade.  I'm a big sucker for kids selling stuff.  I was on the phone (ignored the first knock but they persisted), so I gestured for them to wait and got my wallet.  Of course, the only money I had was a $20 bill, and I didn't want to interrupt my call to negotiate change, so I just made 4 kids' day (and a bit of my own).
- Hey - I answered the phone!

Goals for the day:
- I was going to mow my back yard, too, but it's getting HOT out there, so I'll settle happily for the front yard being done.
- continue laundry (yes, it's been a while)

I think that'll do for today.

Friday, June 18, 2010

the Jaws of Death strike again

Aaaand, I just caught Chester eating my underwear (again).  I don't even know how he got it - probably has a secret stash somewhere.  I had to make a sock run Monday; I'm gonna' need an underwear run soon.  (Ha ha! No pun intended!  Maybe I should go to bed now....)

choosing life 06/18/10

I accomplished all of my housekeeping/choosing life goals yesterday - woo hoo!  I even began an archeological dig on my kitchen table, sorting or tossing various papers.  This (blogging, setting goals) does help.

Today I chose and enjoyed life by:
- delighting in the way the sunlight hit the trees early this a.m.
- taking the dogs on a walk and:  laughing at them for the millionth time when they walked right past a rabbit (they LOVE chasing rabbits) - their sense of smell is usually amazing, but their eyesight...not so much; watching the blue egret; waving to a neighbor; letting the dogs wade and lie down in the small creek in the park - they initiated this routine - Chester pulled me toward the water one day and surprised me by jumping in - Oliver was more hesitant, but is now a full convert - Oliver likes to also chase the ducks in the creek, which means he moves as fast as he can in the creek and I jog along the bank, praying not to fall in (it's bound to happen someday) - I'd love to take a picture of the boys in the creek, but right now with the leash management, bank running, and occasional tree hugging, I think that would certainly lead to disaster - maybe I can take someone with me; I also chose life (but the dogs didn't enjoy it) when we got home from the walk and I hosed them down - they love lying in the creek and pool, but for some reason they object to my sticking a hose around and under them and "bideting" them - they know this routine, so when we get to the back gate I unhook Chester and he runs to the pool and jumps in, and Oliver pulls back on the leash and has to be dragged into the back yard and to the hose - good times!
- having fun, as usual, with Grandpa - when I left I said, "See ya' later."  He said, "Alligator."  Then we did the crocodile one, then he did one I'd forgotten about, "See you soon, baboon."  I parted with a "Stay loose, mongoose," and "Stay perky, turkey," and left him working on some new ones of his own
- finally went shopping for some items I've needed for a while
- apparently the theme for the day is greeting/saying goodbye to people - I waved at the neighbor, then when I left for Grandpa's I initially ignored the trash guy emptying my bin, but then chose to look at him and wave a "thanks" - my 3rd wave was not so friendly; I was in traffic at a red light and I'd left a space in front of me for a guy to pull into when he had a chance.  The guy behind me got tired of waiting (the light was still red) so he honked, and I ignored him.  Apparently, he had a critical need to be 15-20 feet ahead of where he was, because he honked again.  I gave him a curt, "Back off and wait!" wave.  (I used all 5 fingers.)  (At the same time.)  Several minutes later, I was able to pray that he would have peace.  As with my delight in nature, my interactions with people are also a way to commune with God and to love.

Goals for today:
more laundry
finish June bills
clean & refill the dogs' pool

Thursday, June 17, 2010

pics from mom's family

I've been collecting pictures from Mom's side of the family as well as Dad's (on posts about Grandpa).  Here are a few:

This is one of my favorites.  Back in the day, you had to go downtown to do your shopping.  Milling among the shoppers on the sidewalk were photographers who would offer to take your picture for a fee.  This is Mom and her oldest younger brother (she's the oldest of six).  Aren't they cute?!  The pose of Mom's feet looks like she's standing on the red carpet.  And I love her brother's big pants cuffs, suspenders, and belt.

Going back in time a few years, this is Mom with her mother, grandfather, and great-grandmother:

This is Mom with her Grandma and Grandpa Wadlow (her mom's parents).  Grandparents Wadlow played a big role in Mom's life, and she was very close to them.  They also meant a great deal to Dad as well, particularly for their role in Mom's life; I didn't realize how much they meant to him until the day of Grandma Wadlow's funeral.  Dad and I were home, Brad and Mom were at the donut shop (I'll talk about the shop some other time).  Dad was going to perform the eulogy, and with that and his grief he was a bit preoccupied, and when it was time to go pick up Mom and Brad and go to the funeral, he left without me.  I called Mom at the shop:  "Uh, was I supposed to go with Dad?"  I don't know if Dad figured out for himself that he'd left me at home, but I did eventually get picked up.  At the funeral, as Dad sat down after speaking, he began to weep.  It made a big impression on me, because I'd never seen him do that before (or since).  His love for Mom and her grandparents, and Mom's love for them, took on a new meaning for me.

This is Mom with her parents, 1946-47-ish:

And here's an extended family picture from the same day:

Mom in grade school:


Mom and her sibs standing in order by age, 1970 (go polyester, plaid, and beehive hairdos!):

And another 4-generation picture, with Mom holding me: