>> Monday, April 27, 2009

In the mid 1970s, a Bible missionary's daughter raised in Africa met a street-wise lapsed Catholic from Chicago at a graduation party. I can only imagine how the innocence she gained through her faith and a third-world country upbringing clashed with his long hair, cigarette smoking, beer drinking, dirt-bike-racing way of life. He asked her out; after determining he wasn't a Christian, she said no. The first outing they had together was to a Bible Study, where he asked hard questions and heard the Lord speak. He responded clearly and surely, independently of his interest in the missionary's daughter. A few years later they married.

It was a Wednesday in early January when she went into labor with her first child, having no idea how their lives were about to change. Things weren't too bad at that point, so she carried on doing laundry and making dinner, completing the chores for the day, and again on Thursday. On Friday she went to the hospital to began the hard and complicated labor.

Her daughter came into the world around 8:40 Saturday morning, throwing everything into a panic. Something was wrong, her proportions were all off, her head too big and her limbs too small... there was no way to have foreseen this. There were tests and scans and then she went into the incubator. Organs were missing; or maybe there were extra ones; there had to be brain damage. Really, no one had seen this before, no one knew what to do. The doctors broke the news: "She won't last the night." The baby's father, new in faith, went home and sobbed.

She lasted the night. But the damage was obviously too severe, they could tell just by looking. "She won't last the week." When they brought her out of incubation and she breathed just fine, they sent her home. There was nothing they could do, it was more kind to let her live out her short life at home. So they took her home, in tears and mourning and fear and questioning God and relying on faith and prayer.

She made it through that month, and then through the year. Her parents taught her about God's love and His hand in her life, and how He brought them peace even when there was very little understanding. And then they realized that she wasn't slowing down; there was no sign of an end, only a beginning. Slowly they put their life back together.


It wasn't until I was 7 years old that my father met a woman at work who looked as I could have looked at her age. She directed our family to Little People of America, where we finally received a diagnosis of Spondyloepiphyseal Dysplasia, a form of Dwarfism. Missing parts: Zero. Brain damage: None. Predicted lifespan: Normal.


Rediscovering Me

>> Thursday, April 23, 2009

Life is about changes; transitions from one place to another, from one purpose to another, from one being to another. They say that the person you are today is a completely different person from who you were ten years ago and who you'll be ten years from now. So far, at the age of 32, I've had four major transitions in my life which redefined who I am. Two years into the results of the most recent transition I am again - still - exploring how God is shaping me.

Tomorrow I will be baptized in the Atlantic Ocean as a symbol and acceptance of Christ's sacrifice done out of overwhelming love for me. On Sunday morning I will be confirmed by the Bishop in the rite for Adult Confirmation. I've been told by the priests and other church-member witnesses of previous rites that Something Happens during these sacraments, indescribable Spirit things that are part of the holy mysteries of the faith. Many at our church believe they have witnessed a direct transfer of Holy Spirit power through the Bishop at confirmation. I hope for this, though I doubt in the same way I doubt other denominations' speaking in tongues, mostly because it's beyond my understanding. Despite my doubt I also long for that kind of a connection to my Lord.

So why is this here instead of under the "Faith" tab? Through the last two weeks or so I've been preparing for the Baptism and confirmation with a lot of thought, and a lot of questioning my childhood and details of what I believe. I'm hoping that tomorrow will mark a fifth transition in my life, taking elements of the five previous people I've been and combining them intentionally into a common goal: becoming who God wants me to be. Over the next few months I hope to review my past and set goals for the future, and embrace the next adventure of rediscovering me.


Boredom la-dee-dah... TOOMUCHTODO!!

>> Friday, April 17, 2009

So life was trucking along on a relatively even pace when it was suddenly stunned by everything happening at once. (Thus, of course, I blog. *heh*)

Nicholas arrives tomorrow and will be around until Tuesday, I think. This is a very good thing. We have many ideas but no plans, which is typically how everyone around here likes things. He is bringing our kayak and some paddles, but we have nowhere to store it and no roof rack to actually get it to water. We're hoping to replicate Steve's "hang it from the garage rafters" scenario for storage. Of course we got a car that doesn't come with roof rack as an option, so we'll have to dig up the cash for a custom fitted one. We'll see how all that goes.
I ended my last class with a 98.23%. It's sufficient. *heh* Started a new one this week on "Children, Family, and Community", and it seems to be ok... though repeating a lot of stuff we've already had, and not to much more depth than the first time. But we'll see. It's an instructor I haven't had, and she seems to be rather hands-off right now. It's her first term teaching for Walden, though she's taught many years in a community college. I wish I was more optimistic.
We are going through the Anglican class, which ends in Adult Confirmation. In order to be confirmed, you have to have first been baptized. There has been a family story that said when I was an infant, a Catholic family member got permission and a vial of Holy water and baptized me in the kitchen sink, since there was doubt about my continuing existence. My parents (being of the 'baptizing is for adults' vein) taught me that it didn't really count. They also taught me that communion was acceptable to take when I was old enough to understand it. In the church we currently attend, they accept infant baptisms and require baptism for taking of communion. I've been content with that thus far. However, because the Confirmation is a rite with the Bishop that requires having been baptized, and I was becoming more and more uneasy about not knowing for sure, I called the family member related to the story. Who has no recollection whatsoever and after lengthy discussion it was all agreed that even if it had, the situation 32 years ago would not have warranted the church having any record of it.

The moral of the story is that next Saturday we will be Dave Ramsey "Sell so much stuff the kids think they're next"ing at Wescott from 7am to 10:45, leaving the table to Jen and running to church for the 11:00 Confirmation rehearsal, running back to Wescott to clean up by 1:00, running home to meet my parents who are driving in from Charlotte, hitting the road for Seabrook by 2:00, and by 4:00 I will be immersed for Baptism in the Atlantic Ocean. Then Sunday morning Lanse and I will be confirmed.

Anyone who wants to come is welcome, but let us know because Seabrook is gated and we'll need to call in a pass for you.
Adoption homestudy update! Which adds a trip to Columbia to the list of things to do in the next two weeks.
We also needed to have physicals redone for the homestudy. I called and made the appointment Tuesday morning, went to bed Tuesday night with a sore throat, woke with a fever, and went to the appointment Thursday feeling horrid. Still feel horrid. I'm going out this morning (when I stop typing) to get my medications.
Things to do by next Saturday:
  • Pick up meds and med equipment (need a mask for the nebulizer)
  • Get better
  • Finish up stuff to sell at the sale
  • Wrap up last month's budget info and complete this month's (which already started)
  • Write two papers by Sunday night
  • Clean the house for Nick (which is a disaster because of crafting stuff for the sale)
  • Get groceries (we're out of everything)
  • Bake bread (see previous)
  • Do stuff with Nick
  • Purchase and install kayak storage system
  • Possible going away party for a friend tomorrow night
  • Church
  • Tuesday night class
  • Meet with Doug about the baptism
  • Do Week 2 homework (readings, discussion posts x3, 2 papers)
  • Clean the house for my parents
  • Host my parents
  • Travel to Columbia for homestudy stuff?
  • Survive through next weekends' schedule

That is all.


Easter 2009

>> Sunday, April 12, 2009

No matter what you believe spiritually, you can't deny the intense amount of love it would take for someone to willingly submit themselves to a public torture and death on your behalf for a crime they didn't commit. There's no power on earth that would motivate that kind of choice aside from an overwhelming love.

The thing of Easter is that that very thing happened, and Christ came back. Anyone can die; I'd wager there are even people who do feel so intense a love that they would be willing to - or already have - die for someone else in horrible and humiliating ways. What makes today so completely and vitally important is ...He didn't stay dead.

In the last few years I've awakened on Easter Sunday so bursting with gratitude that I put on the praising music and danced around the kitchen. That the ruler and creator of the universe held that kind of love for me just fills me with overwhelming joy. I'm a bit more subdued this year, contemplative and tired, but still soaking in bewildered joy and gratitude to Him.

I hope today brings you joy and a deeper understanding of His love for you.


Thursday Randomness

>> Thursday, April 9, 2009

Last night we attended our church's Tenebrae service. Some Anglican and Episcopal congregations do this on Holy Wednesday, but Catholics and others do it on Holy Thursday or Good Friday "The purpose of the Tenebrae service is to recreate the emotional aspects of the passion story..." which went from the story of Judas checking in with the Sanhedrin to set his silver price to the crucifixion of Christ. In the middle were readings from the Old Testament from times when the Israelites were crushed and abandoned and felt forsaken by God. After each reading a candle was extinguished, until only the Christ candle was left; that was removed after the crucifixion and brought back in at the end. In all honesty, I was a bit bored... it was all readings, we sang two hymns that were pretty and solumn but weren't ones that I really emotionally connect to; it was hard to see the litergy and hymn words because it was held by candlelight, and I was focusing (physically and mentally) too hard on following the service to actually internalize it. After the Christ candle was removed from the church (walked out the front door) we said the Lord's Prayer, and that was incredible. It just had a much deeper emotional meaning at that specific point in time. Overall though, I think I've been most affected by the first CRC Tenebrae service that I went to; there was just enough difficulty for me to participate in this one for me to get emotionally involved.

On a much lighter note, Aleta Meadowlark asked this question today in her lovely food blog, Omnomicon: "What are your top 10 herbs and spices?" So I figured I'd share mine, in no particular order. (S&P are a given, btw.)
  1. Garlic Salt
  2. Savory
  3. Rosemary - fresh from the garden
  4. Marjoram - fresh from the garden
  5. Basil - fresh from the garden
  6. Curry Powder
  7. Paprika
  8. Coriander (don't use it often because it's whole and I haven't got a grinder, but I love the flavor.)
  9. Lawry's Season All Season Salt (yeah, I know)
  10. Chives/Green Onion (technically more a vegetable than an herb, but I make it work)
We're having chicken wraps for lunch, with lots of Lawry's. Yum!

My right foot hurts pretty badly when I walk on it; it's something in putting pressure on my heel that radiates pain down to my toes. Sigh.

I contested a deduction on my last paper of Week 5 (last week), and my instructor changed my grade! Woo! Go Instructor!

I now have access to my classroom for the new class that starts Monday. It's called "Child, Family and Community Relationships" and is my final course for the 1000 level courses. After this I get to dive into Preschool specific courses. Yay! I have an instructor I haven't had before. We'll see how it goes.
I love watching the bird bath out here when it's a gorgeous day and I've just refilled it and then sat quietly and patiently waiting. Papa Bluebird took a dip a couple times and then got into a fight with another male Bluebird; the finches (I've figured out how to identify between a male house finch and a purple finch! We have both!) did some low swooping but didn't stop, a mockingbird took a drink and bopped around in the leaves for a bit, and two male cardinals chased each other around the tree. There was something enormous in the neighbor's far tree watching it all, but it silhouetted against the sky and I couldn't identify it.



>> Monday, April 6, 2009

In a burst of uncharacteristic motivation, I spent all last week learning. I learned about Anglicans, I learned about children's health, I learned about Social Services, I learned about Academic Advising, I learned a bit about my instructor, I learned some XML, and I learned about myself.

'Twas an awful lot of learnin', and it made my brain hurt.

So I'll try to make this quick:

  • I just might be Anglican by belief, my "baptism" is accepted, I could have it re-affirmed or get confirmed, depending on what I want. There's a recommended church in Charlotte, but it's smack in the downtown and quite a goodly hike from my folks', and they don't have a Saturday evening service. My mom wants us all together for Easter service, as she should; they're very much not Anglican, so we're facing the 'can't please everyone all the time' scenario.
  • Proper nutrition is important, especially in growing kids. Nutrients work together to make the body go. Energy balance is vital.
  • Our case worker has done all her prepping for her 'sit down and write' day, which is sometime this week.
  • I have a new Advisor at school who is very nice, interested about me, and will stick with me til the bitter end. This is a good thing.
  • My instructor, while very intense and perhaps unaware of inconsistencies, has a good heart.
  • XML sucks to learn by doing
  • I love making blogs, I have a very short attention span, I'm resourceful, I'm lazy, I enjoy raw spinach, and I can predict earthquakes with my legs.
I learned a lot more than that, but really it's all just details.


About This Blog

Life is about changes; transitions from one place to another, from one purpose to another, from one being to another. They say that the person you are today is a completely different person from who you were ten years ago and who you'll be ten years from now. So far, at the age of 33, I've had four major transitions in my life which redefined who I am. Two years into the results of the most recent transition I am again - still - exploring how God is shaping me. Over the next few months I hope to review my past and set goals for the future, and embrace the next adventure of rediscovering me.

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