Friday, August 27, 2010

milestones of the day - 08/27/10

biggest temptation:  move to Scotland to be a sheep-shearer - apparently they're running low - Chester's a herding dog from Wales, I have some Scottish blood, and I'd love to live there; it's perfect - unfortunately, they want experienced workers - I don't think watching a sheep get sheared once when I was a Girl Scout would count, and Grandpa's too bald for me to practice on him

biggest joy:  watching 3-year-old Ben jump into the pool and swim to the stairs all by himself - WOW!!!  also:  Ben's huge smile and delight with his new skill

biggest personal achievement:  showed the most leg hair I ever have in public - I'll let you fill in the details - my mom would be so proud - ooh, I wonder if this would count as shearing practice...

Remember:  the preferred term is "quirky."

fun with grandpa - 08/27/10

I got to Mom & Dad's on time today but got caught up in something, and didn't go downstairs and see Grandpa until 8:20.  He greeted me with, "You're late!  I'm taking it out of your pay!"  I blew him a raspberry.  I love this work environment.

Y. brought some more fun stuff today - gpa's favorites for now are hand clappers that light up and a little "rubber" (plastic) duck that lights up and quacks.  He was having fun with them today when he shook his head, laughed, and said to himself, "I'm 93 years old...."

Thursday, August 26, 2010

fun with grandpa - 08/26/10

I started today with Grandpa earlier than usual.  We said our hellos, then I asked him if he wanted to read the paper.  He said he'd wait until after breakfast, "when your mom comes down."  "Mom's gone," I replied.  "Huh?"  "She went to work."  "Then who's fixing my breakfast?"  "I am."  "You?! You mean you're going to fix my breakfast???  Will I live?" Grandpa wisecracked.
what I said:  "I don't know, there's always a risk."
what I should have said:  "I don't know, I haven't decided yet."  :)

Yesterday he pretended to be surprised that I was in my 40's and said, "I thought you were 50 or 55!"  He got another bop in the head with his pillow for that one.

Friday, August 20, 2010

a must-see/read

Thanks to my brother for sharing this with me.  This man changed my life when he assured me and sang to me (on TV), "You'll never go down the drain."

fun with grandpa - 08/20/10

Yesterday, Grandpa and I had a very serious discussion about whether or not we were adults (see post below).  Today, the title for his daily devotional was "Time to Grow Up."  :P

Y. from hospice gave Grandpa some fun stuff today, including 2 hand-held pinball games. "Why two?" Grandpa wanted to know. I said, "So we can play at the same time and see who wins." Grandpa replied as if it were obvious, "Well I will."

Y. also gave Gpa a plastic guy with a parachute that you throw down a staircase or whatever and he floats down.  As soon as Grandpa got his hands on it, he held it like a slingshot and aimed it at me!  The man had just woken up from a nap and was still a bit groggy!!!  I've got to up my game.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

favorites from the day so far - 08/19/10

High-school-age kid walking home with 4-5 Kindergarten-sized kids on a neighborhood street (no sidewalks).  Everybody holding hands, big kid walking slow and looking around, pulling little kids to the side when a car comes - wonderful!

Grandpa's smile and laughter, his telling me he's glad I'm coming early tomorrow, his out-of-the-blue question:
"Are we adults?"
me - "I don't know.  Do we act like adults?"
(laughter) "No!"
"I don't think so, either."

Greater sense of God's presence and love today, and of being more well, more whole.

life 08/19/10

Okay, I've got to get back into writing here more often.  I got lost in the egotistical everything-I-post-has-to-be-Pulitzer-Prize-quality, and I forgot how much it helps me just to get stuff down.

Chester's discovered that he loves cicadas.  They make a great bedtime snack.  He races to the back door when it's time to "go potty" and, at night, noses out the poor, minding-my-own-business creatures, wagging his tail as they buzz buzz buzz before he goes crunch crunch crunch.  Unfortunately for Chester, they're onto him now, and there haven't been any by the door for several days, though you can hear them in the yard.  On one of the first days he did this, I was fascinated to see the cicadas act as a community - he was going after a few on the porch, so several others came down off the house and dive bombed him, trying desperately to save their own.  But Chester's jaws were too much for them, and it ended up being a kamikaze mission.

Was blessed last week while walking the dogs and heard a shouted "Hello!"  Turned to see a neighbor girl we've met waving and smiling at us.

Was setting up Grandpa's birthday cards last week and, on the last one, knocked down a bunch of them in the middle - they went down like dominoes.  I looked at Grandpa, and he cracked up.  When I pulled my hand back to begin picking them up, I knocked down more.  Gpa loved it.

Gpa also got a big kick out of the whipped cream spitting out of the can all over my shirt.  It'd happened before, so this time I just walked over to Gpa and showed him my shirt, smiling but not saying anything.  He cracked up again, and when I told him it was all over the counter too, he said, "Maybe I should tell your mother about this."  (That I'm a klutz.)  She already knows.

Enjoyed a bubbles fight with Gpa - our favorite lady from hospice gave them to him for his b-day (along with a remote-control car that he likes to crash into people).  At one point he said, "You've got the advantage because you're higher."  (I was standing, he was sitting in his chair.)  I considered the odds even, though, since I was getting more of his spit on me than actual bubbles.  On Monday, the hospice lady said Grandpa asked her, "Bring more bubbles."

The other day Grandpa pointed to several wooden models we had put together, and said, "If you drove that sports car you'd probably crash into the helicopter" (which was next to it).  I picked up the car and crashed it into him.  One of my (and other family members') frequent "chores" is to put things where Grandpa wants them and arrange them to his liking.  The day after the "car crash" he pointed to the models again and said, "The sports car is too close to the old car" (Model T or A).  I turned to look, and the cars were as far apart from each other as they could get, brushing up against the models on either side of them.  When I turned back to look at Grandpa, he had a big grin on his face.  I (gently) hit him in the head with a pillow.

I was cutting out a newspaper article for Gpa to save recently, when he said, "Your Royals beat my Yankees."  Once I recovered from the shock, I cheered.  "I knew you'd do that," he said.  I said, "We should cut out and save the article about the baseball game, too!"  "Phooey!" was his response.

Still getting used to the idea of moving and finding other arrangements for the dogs.  Some days it's hard to even begin to think about, on others I know I need to do it.  Who knows what'll happen - I need to stop worrying.

Praying for people all over the world who are homeless, foodless, sick, etc. due to natural disasters or other circumstances.  Praying for them to have peace and strength, and the things they need.  Giving thanks for my own circumstances.

Ps. 23, NJB:
Yahweh is my (our) shepherd, we lack nothing.
In grassy meadows he lets us lie.
By tranquil streams he leads us to restore our spirit.
He guides us in paths of saving justice as befits his name.
Even were we to walk in a ravine as dark as death we should fear no danger, for you are at our side.
Your staff and your crook are there to soothe us.
You prepare a table for us under the eyes of our enemies;
you anoint our heads with oil; our cups brim over.
Kindness and faithful love pursue us every day of our lives.
We make our home in the house of Yahweh for all time to come.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


no, not that kind...

Yes, this is a post about a weed.  Yes, I am bored.  But it is also about paying attention, waiting, and allowing yourself to be surprised, to have your assumptions proved wrong.

I've mentioned the weeds in my back yard that scare me.  Flat on the ground, they're foot-wide, dark green, fuzzy tarantulas.  They get even more sinister as they grow taller.  But that wasn't the end of the story.  Turns out, if you wait long enough (several weeks), you will also discover that they bloom, and their flowers aren't too bad.  Some kind of thistle?  Still not the prettiest I've ever seen, but they're a lot better than they were.  Moral:  never judge a weed by its fur.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

the retreat - day 6 - Jan. 13, 2008 - reflection on my call

From journal:

Interesting to see God's love and respect for these men and who they were - God reveals himself and communicates with them accordingly.

God to me:  stop questioning whether or not it is my voice that you hear when I speak to you, and start writing out, expressing, living out my words.

It's okay.

I love you.

Do not be afraid.  I am with you.

"All shall be well,
all shall be well,
all manner of things shall be well."

my response:  Oh God, the God of my life, I love you.  I am awed by you - your holiness, your integrity, your love for yourself/selves and for your creation.

the retreat - day 6 - Jan. 13, 2008 - Jeremiah's call

From journal:

Jeremiah 1:4-9 - the call of Jeremiah
Who he was:  priest, would remain unwed and without children at God's command/warning, introspective, honest and comfortable/familiar with God to an extent, later:  sad, insecure

Nature of the call:  loving, tender, that of a caregiver - Ps. 139 - I knew you and I set you apart before you even existed, before you even became aware of yourself - be a prophet to the nations

Jeremiah's response:  "Ah, Sovereign Lord...."  You can almost hear the wheels turning in J's mind, backpedalling, whoa whoa whoa, I know what happens to prophets around here, I should have checked caller ID - I don't know how, I'm too young

God:  dismisses J's age objection as if with a wave of his hand - "Don't say..." - you must go to everyone I send you and say everything I command you - simple, broad instructions, as if to a child? - do not be afraid of them, I am with you, and I will rescue you - then touched J's mouth - I have put my words in your mouth and I appoint you...

God responds to Jeremiah's unspoken fear for his safety as well.

Portrait of Jeremiah by Rembrandt

the retreat - day 6 - Jan. 13, 2008 - Isaiah's call

From journal:

Isaiah 6:1-8 - the call of Isaiah:
Who he was:  ? - not sure, but a son is mentioned in 7:3 and he conceives a son in 8:1-3

Nature of call:  HOLINESS!  vision of God on throne, his robe filled the temple, seraphim calling God holy, doorposts and thresholds shook, temple filled with smoke

Isaiah's response:  Woe is me, for I have seen God, and I (my lips) am unclean and live among unclean people!

God:  sent a seraphim to touch Isaiah's lips with a burning coal - now your guilt is gone, your sin is atoned for - whom shall I send?  Who will go for us?  ("us" instead of "me" - trinity)

Isaiah:  "Here am I.  Send me!"  (Isaiah doesn't even know what he's volunteering for yet.)

God:  says with irony - go tell (your own) people, the people you live among, to repent and be healed (they won't)

Isaiah:  "For how long?"  No hesitation to obey.

God:  until this land is utterly forsaken

in this passage, Isaiah is overcome with awe and eagerness

the retreat - day 6 - Jan. 13, 2008 - Samuel's call

From journal:

1 Samuel 3:1-11, 15-19 - call of Samuel:
Who he was:  pre-teen or in early teens, raised since birth to serve in the temple and assist the priest but did not yet "know" the Lord - the Lord's word had not yet been revealed to him

Nature of the call:
- God called Samuel's name - 3 times
- Samuel rose from his bed, ran to Eli, and said "Here I am," thinking E. had called him - 3 times
- Eli explains, God calls again, and Samuel follows Eli's instructions
- See - I am about to do something in Israel that will make everyone's ears ring - the judgment of Eli's family
- all Israel recognized Samuel as God's prophet as he grew, the Lord was with him, he continued to appear to Samuel, and kept the covenant

Samuel's simple obedience to God and to Eli - ran to him, said "Here I am."

the retreat - day 6 - Jan. 13, 2008 - Moses' call

From journal:

Exodus 3:1-10 - call of Moses
Who he was before the call:  shepherd+, born in secret, Jewish, raised in Pharaoh's house during the Israelites' slavery in Egypt, at 40 years old moved to Midian and lived in father-in-law's household for 40 years, had connections, history, experience with the Egyptian royal court

Nature of call:  drawn by his curiosity to the burning bush - God knew him, had made him, and knew how to get Moses' attention
- God called his name
- "Here I am."
- keep your distance, take off your shoes - holiness
- God identified himself to Moses as the God of his forefathers
- Moses hid his face, afraid to look at God (but later asks to see God's face) - no question of Moses' belief
- God does not say, yet, do not fear - fear in the presence of his holiness is appropriate
- God explains and proposes covenant - go and rescue my people - I know what is happening to them and I am concerned about them - I have come to rescue them and bring them out of Egypt into the land I promised they would have - I am sending you to do this

Moses' response:  "Who am I..." that I should do this incredible thing??? (400 years of slavery - twice the age of the USA)

God's response:  "I will be with you."  God doesn't affirm Moses' abilities, just promises to be with him.

Moses:  "Suppose...God of your fathers...What is your name?"

God:  I am/I will be what I am/will be - first time for the Israelites to know him as Yahweh? - gives further instructions

Moses:  "What if...?"

God:  I'll give signs/miracles to prove who I am - staff, hand, water/blood

Moses:  Oh Lord, I can't do this, I can't speak well.

God:  Who made you?!  I will help you, and I will teach you.

Moses:  "Oh Lord, please send someone else...."

God:  his anger burned, I'll send your brother Aaron with you - he can speak well, and I will help both of you to speak and teach you what to do.

the retreat - day 6 - Jan. 13, 2008 - Abram's call

From journal:  up at 8:00 a.m., ate in my room, am more quiet, within myself today

fascinated, delighted with work for today - God's call - reflect on 5 calls in the OT and ponder my own call - it's so interesting to see how God worked with these men, how they lived with it

Gen. 12:1-9 - call of Abram
Who he was before the call:  wealthy, married, living among family, settled, had lived 75 of his 175 years, no children, apparently close enough to God to hear and obey without hesitation

Nature of the call:  a command to leave your country, your people, and your father's household and go to the land I will show you - "will show," future tense, Abram has to leave before he sees what he's leaving for - he was able to take his possessions

God's promises/his part in the covenant:
- will show you, give you land
- will make you into great nation
- will bless you
- will make your name great
- you will be a blessing
- will bless those who bless you
- will curse those who curse you
- all peoples on earth will be blessed through you

Abram's response:  "So Abram left, as the Lord had told him."

God's response:  reappeared to Abram at the land he had promised and reaffirmed his promise to give the land to Abram's offspring

Abram built an altar to the Lord there, moved on and built another altar to the Lord and called on his name

Gen. 14...After Abram rescues Lot and defeats the king of K. and others, he gives one-tenth of the spoils to Melchizedek and God and refuses to be given anything except food and repayment for others involved in the battle.  God appears to Abram afterward and says:

Do not fear.
I am your shield,
your very great reward.

God promises Abram heirs but also tells of their enslavement and release and other events.  Covenant with fire and sacrifices is made.

favorite headline of the day

"Dog wash educates on disaster preparedness"

That's right, folks; forget what your momma told you about wearing clean underwear in case you're in an accident.  The crucial question to ask when disaster looms is, "Are my dogs clean?!"

(Actually, they were passing out informative pamphlets and stuff at the wash.)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

old dog, new trick

Yesterday I jumped into the deep end of a pool by myself for the first time ever.  My niece and nephew and sis-in-law and mom good-naturedly watched and encouraged and praised me.  (Okay, niece and nephew were a bit underwhelmed, but I was glad they were there.)  I learned how to swim about 4 years ago - actually, when I showed the instructor at the Y what I could do, she said I could already swim, I just didn't have any technique.  I still move around in the pool a bit like a penguin with only one flipper, but I discovered I love to swim and wasn't afraid of the water anymore.  Later, I figured out how to tread water in a water aerobics class.  I had a brief moment of fear yesterday as I sunk into the water after the jump and didn't have anything to hold onto, but I made it.  Yeah!  :)

My next goal (hopefully will do this summer) is to jump off a diving board.  I'm hoping my friend Sam can help me with that.  The only time I've ever jumped off a board was in swimming lessons when I was 7, and I was so scared I held onto a pole with the instructors on the other end when I jumped, then literally climbed up the pole in a panic after I hit the water.  Not exactly great diving technique, but I think I showed real promise as Spiderwoman.

I wonder what I'll do next?  What will you do?

choosing - and loving - life 08/07/10

Hallelujah!  The clouds are gone for now and the sun is shining and I am happy and hopeful again.  What a tremendous gift it is to be able to enjoy life.

When I finished my 2008 retreat (which I'm slowly recording here) I didn't leave with many answers, but I was sure that God loved me and that he was calling me to become involved in some kind of community, in some way.  I also knew that while on retreat I actually enjoyed living with the sisters - I haven't enjoyed living with people since...well, never mind.  :)  So I figured that a move into some type of community, whether a convent or something more informal, would happen someday.  God knows I need a lot of heads up when it comes to big changes, so he let me sit with the idea for a couple of years, until I sensed the prompting last Sunday night that it was time to live with others.  As an intermediate step (I think) to living in some kind of community, I will be moving in with my aunt and uncle soon.  This will help me financially as well as help me get used to a different lifestyle.  And I enjoyed following the open doors and discovering the path God had prepared for me in this situation.

I thought and prayed about living with aunt & uncle for several days and I discussed it with my spiritual director.  After talking and praying with her, this move seemed to be the thing to explore.  So I called a & u out of the blue and asked to come over.  I asked them to think and pray about me moving in, and they smiled and said we already have, we were just talking about it, we don't need time to think, come on over!  I love it when that happens.  The other neat thing that worked out is that I'll be closer to my friend K's house, and she needs help getting her son to school one morning a week.  Thanks to my aunt's kindness and flexibility, she traded days of caring for Grandpa with me and I can help K!  One of the things I knew I needed and would gain from the move is a greater participation in the daily routines of life (stewardship), interacting with people more, and building new and deeper relationships with people.  So K's need complements my own, and we can mutually help each other.  It will be another type of family, and I'm looking forward to it.

While I suspect adjusting to this change will be hard at times, overall I am so thankful for a new, positive step to further growth and being in Christ.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

fun with Grandpa - 08/04/10

Have you seen the Jimmy Dean sausage biscuit commercial where people dressed as planets can't orbit the sun until they've had their JD?  They look like they're wearing big balloons.  The other day, Gpa said, "I wish I had a pin so I could stick them and make them go 'pop'."  He's not a grumpy old man, just a funny one.

Today as I was leaving I called down the stairs, "Bye, Grandpa!"  He replied with a weak, suspiciously fake, "Ohhhh..."  I called, "See you Friday!"  Another weak, this time obviously fake "Ohhhhh..."  I went downstairs and when he saw me he jumped and said, "Oh!" in his normal voice, then said in a baby voice, "But what about my feet?  You're going to leave my feet up?" (the recliner was extended).  Gpa is perfectly capable of lowering his feet himself with a little effort, or of asking Mom (who was home) to do it for him.  "Oh, you poor thing,"  I said in a similar baby voice, and lowered his feet.  Then I said in my regular tone, "You're pitiful."
"You mean handsome."
"I mean manipulative."

Earlier he'd said, "I scared myself this morning."
"How?" I asked.
"I looked in the mirror."
"Yeah, that'd scare me too if I were you."
"Ker-ri!" he scolded and laughed at the same time.