Monthly Archives: May 2011

Transparent and Reflective

“If our consciences were clear, we would have no need to confess. But we stand transparent before God, who knows our thoughts, our hearts, our misdeeds. Let us speak to the One who has promised not to put us to shame, but to forgive us of our sins.”
~Thom M. Shuman

*Psalm 139

Advertisements

Friday 5: Only 2 at a time allowed

I’ve discovered something about myself: I can only handle 2 crises at once (and of course I’d prefer only one crisis — or none at all — but life doesn’t seem to work that way).

Here, in current order, are the 5 crises I am juggling for those top 2 spots:

1. My mother’s cancer and continual decline despite her denial (definitely the top stressor this week)

2. Selling our house (trying to be top stressor but being trumped by Mom’s cancer)

3.   The logistics of moving (When? Where? How?)

4. The arrival of 4 more adults next weekend– bringing our household up to a count of NINE — for 2 weeks of graduation festivities and moving mayhem.

5.  The graduating senior who must be prepared for college (he will probably be fine, but his mother isn’t prepared to send him off)

Thankful Thursday: Perspective

We continue the slow process of selling our house. A decent non-contingent offer has come in — it’s not perfect, but we will negotiate and hope for the best.

After an hour or more of tossing and turning on Tuesday night, I finally got up to check e-mail (teenagers use the computer all afternoon and evening around here) and then facebook… where I stumbled upon the news that a friend’s home took a direct hit from the tornado in Oklahoma that day. The family is safe, but the house is destroyed and 2 out of 3 horses had to be put down due to injuries sustained in the tornado.

It sort of made my own house worries seem paltry.

Anything happen lately to put your life in perspective?

On saying goodbye…

Grief is a difficult and unpredictable beast.

There is no “right way” to grieve, but there is much to learn from the traditions of  others. I think  Christians  have missed out on some wonderful and useful traditions when it comes to dealing with grief. We tend to quickly pull together a funeral or memorial service, but after that? Nothing. Grief is a longer process than just a memorial service or a funeral.

Carmi has written so poignantly about life and death and saying goodbye to his father. He has shared about the Jewish customs after death (e.g., Sitting Shivah, Unveiling).  The more I learn about the Jewish customs that relate to death and the grieving process, the more I wish they were universal, because they provide a form — a frame — a ritual — within which to understand and acknowledge the emotional journey we undergo when a loved one dies.

One of the most moving homilies I’ve ever heard was at my step-father’s memorial service when the minister spoke about how we need to say goodbye. With my step-father, there was no chance to say goodbye in person. He took a sudden turn for the worse and died within hours; I was living far away.  I had to find a different way to say goodbye after his death.

Now, my mother is undergoing a long process of saying goodbye.   She continues to weaken as she loses weight, and she has lost a lot of weight.  There is noticeable difference between her now-fragile frame and her distended abdomen;  there is a growing mass in her abdomen — growing despite chemotherapy — a mass that wasn’t there 2 months ago during surgery. Hospice can’t be that far off (although she does not acknowledge this, I know it to be true). She doesn’t want to talk about “the end” being in her immediate future; she is still trying to believe that this new chemo will stem the tide and hold off the inevitable. I, however, am facing reality. I’m sifting through the layers of my heart, mind, and soul, searching for the things that need to be said and discarding those things that don’t really matter anymore.  It’s a cleansing sort of internal decluttering.

I suppose the ultimate goal is one that Cricket writes about in his moving post The Long Goodbye.  (Thanks to Hilary  for bringing this beauty to my attention as a Post of the Week.) Go ahead and read it.  I’ll still be here when you are done.

A long, drawn-out ending is painful but it does give us multiple opportunities to say goodbye; a sudden and unexpectedly early death can leave us with words unsaid.

These are the things on my mind lately.  Your thoughts?

The view from here

After many, many days of rain and thunderstorms, our weather is finally clearing.

I think the bluebirds are happy about it, too!

Friday 5: birthdays, chocolate chip cookies, and Rod Stewart

me with my dad in May 2008

1. Today is my dad’s 75th birthday. True to form, his card is late (what happened? I used to be so good about mailing cards on time!) but I will call and wish him a happy birthday.

2. Today is also my nephew’s birthday. How can it be that the little 2yo boy who stuck his fingers in our wedding cake is now a husband and father?

3. I finally took the cat in for her annual appointment (only running 4 months late on that one). The veterinarian and the technician and I all agreed that she is part-Abyssinian, which explains her gorgeous caramel coloring. I doubt it explains her perfect behavior throughout the exam, but I was glad for that, too.

4. This morning my friend ~P~ is coming over to learn how to make chocolate chip cookies (not exactly a national treat in China).  Last Saturday, I was at her house learning how to make a few easy, healthy dishes. I think I have the better end of the deal!

5. I’m in love with the Rod Stewart Great American Songbook CD collection. Unfortunately, there is no money in the budget for buying CDs just because I like them.   😦   But at least the next time someone asks me what I’d like for a gift, I can actually name something!

31

May 18, 1980.  8:32 am in the southwest region of Washington State.

It’s been 31 years since the the old lady blew her top.

Her eruption was a real pain in the ash for those directly affected. You can see more photographs and read a good article from last year here.

Me at Mount St. Helens in 2005

Good with Chicks

Friday 5: Broken Blogger and Mmmmm…. brownies!

1. Blogger has been broken when it comes to making comments (or even reading). So if you haven’t heard from me and you usually do, that is probably why! It’s not for my lack of trying to comment.

2. It drives me crazy to not be able to comment on your posts! I’ve read some great ones and Blogger renders me “speechless.”  Grrrr…

3. The house is still for sale. We haven’t had anyone in to look in the past 12 days.  Frustrating doesn’t even begin to cover the feelings I’m going through.

4. It’s definitely been a week for comfort food.

5.  Betty at http://glimpseintomidlife.blogspot.com/ asked me to share my homemade brownie recipe. Here it is:

4  squares (1 ounce each) of unsweetened baking chocolate
1/2 cup of shortening (a little more if you like really fudgy brownies)
2 tsp. Vanilla
4 eggs
2 cups of Sugar
1 cup of flour
1 cup of chopped nuts (optional — I leave them out)

Using a large saucepan on the stove, slowly melt chocolate and shortening, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, add vanilla and eggs (stir quickly so eggs don’t cook!) then the sugar. Sift in the flour to avoid lumps, stir thoroughly. Add nuts if desired.

Transfer batter into a 9″ X 13″ X 2″ greased pan. Bake at 350°F for approximately 30 minutes, or until it tests done with a toothpick. Let cool before slicing with a sharp knife. Brownies should be moist and fudgy (esp. if you are a bit generous with the shortening).

What is your favorite comfort food?

Thankful Thursday: A different kind of A-to-Z

SnakeMaster presented me with a ribbon-tied scroll on Mother’s Day. I unrolled it and read, to my surprise, a very different kind of A-to-Z list than I posted yesterday. Here is my youngest son’s own A-to-Z:

Adaptable, come camping with me

Bland, don’t expect anything fancy of me

Careful, come rock-climbing with me

Dynamic, come swim with me

Economical, save money with me

Focused, pay attention with me

Generous, give away things with me

Healthy, don’t get sick with me

Inventive, make new things with me

Just, don’t break the law with me

Kind, don’t be mean with me

Loyal, don’t lie with me

Meek, be polite with me

Naturalist, don’t harm nature with me

Optimistic, think happily about the future with me

Peaceful, don’t fight with me

Quiet, don’t yell with me

Resourceful, don’t waste with me

Sensible, don’t go crazy with me

Thorough, don’t miss things with me

Unique, don’t laugh at me

Valuable, don’t harm me

Watchful, be alert with me

Xtra special, respect me

Young, have patience with me

Zest, be enthusiastic with me