Growing Up

DSCN3483 (2)Last weekend the oldest parts of our church building celebrated 100 years as a place of worship. (The side in which I work was built in 1926, but the sanctuary was built in 1917 after the original church building from 1888 was destroyed by fire.)  With such a celebration happening, it was a treat to have The Engineer, The Author, and Little Foot come for a visit.  All that wasn’t the reason they came for a visit, but the timing was lovely.

It had been a month since we had seen them. Little Foot is growing up so fast, and if it’s possible (I think it is), he is getting cuter every month. The second anniversary of his birth will be in just a few more weeks. This boy melts my heart.  That bear is nearly as big as he is and it is his favorite toy. He talks to Bear and gives Bear turns playing with other toys. It’s really sweet to see.

Boxes make the best toys

The box with the coffee order for work arrived at the perfect time to be a toy for the weekend.

 

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Look! No Christmas decorations on the mantel — it’s a miracle! (Don’t worry, they’ll return.)

This evening SuperDad and I watched Robert Redford and Barbra Streisand in “The Way We Were” and then clicked on the director’s commentary. Not only does the film make more sense when you see the parts that were left on the cutting floor, but watching it allowed us to hear more of that haunting music and Barbra’s incredible voice. It’s such a story of choices. In a strange comparison of sorts, my 18-year-old baby boy is off camping by himself in the snow several hours away. He drove himself there after school in his truck, sent me a text from the nearest town and told us not to worry prior to Monday night.  He only plans to be gone two nights — there is school on Monday — but if his post-concussion syndrome (headache, lack of ability to focus) is bothering him, he wouldn’t be able to drive and would wait to come home.

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One of The Scout‘s senior pictures, taken on a day he wasn’t feeling well.

Not worry? Me? Hahahahaha… Um, no — I’ll be worrying if we haven’t heard from him by sundown on Sunday, preferably by seeing him in person at home. He’s solo hiking and snow-camping in the wilderness without cell phone reception. But what do you do? He’s a legal adult and a very responsible kid person. Still… he’ll always be my baby.
websshare SENIOR PIC, 4x6 or 2x3

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Just ask the kids, they have all the answers…

1.  HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHOM TO MARRY?    

You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. Like, if you like sports, she should like it that you like sports, and she should keep the chips and dip coming.   
—  Alan, age 10 

No  person really decides before they grow up who they’re going to marry. God decides it all way before, and you get to find out later who you’re stuck with.   
—  Kristen, age  10   

 2.  WHAT IS  THE RIGHT AGE TO GET MARRIED?   
Twenty-three is the best age because you know the person FOREVER by then.  
—   Camille, age 10  
3.  HOW CAN A  STRANGER TELL IF TWO PEOPLE ARE MARRIED?   

You might have to guess, based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids. 
—  Derrick, age  8   

4.  WHAT DO  YOU THINK YOUR MOM AND DAD HAVE IN COMMON?   
Both don’t want any more kids.    
—  Lori,  age 8   
5.  WHAT DO  MOST PEOPLE DO ON A DATE?   

Dates are for having fun, and people  should use them to get to know each other. Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough.   
—   Lynnette, age  8     

On  the first date, they just tell each other lies and that usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date.  
—  Martin, age  10   

 6.  WHEN IS  IT OKAY TO KISS SOMEONE?    

When they’re rich.   
—  Pam, age  7 

The law says you have to be 18, so I wouldn’t want to mess with that.  
— Curt, age   7

The rule goes like this: If you kiss someone, then you should marry them and have kids with them. It’s the right thing to do.    
— Howard,  age 8   

7.    IS IT BETTER TO BE SINGLE OR MARRIED?   
It’s better for girls to be single but not for boys. Boys need someone to clean up after them.  
—  Anita, age 9
8.  HOW  WOULD THE WORLD BE DIFFERENT IF PEOPLE DIDN’T GET MARRIED?    
There sure would be a lot of kids to explain, wouldn’t there?  
—  Kelvin, age 8   
9.  HOW WOULD YOU MAKE A MARRIAGE WORK?    
Tell your wife that she looks pretty, even if she looks like a dump truck.
—  Ricky, age  10 
I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry about some of these quotes. 

Too much, too soon

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We received a few inches of snow on Sunday. It seems like a cruel trade for that extra hour of sleep. I’m currently vehicle-less while the hardworking minivan is getting winter shoes put on her feet. For the fun of mixing metaphors, I suspect she’s waiting in a long line at the farrier today — we aren’t the only ones caught off-guard.

There will be no NaBloPoMo happening here. If they scheduled it for February, then I would have a decent chance of being able to participate, but work plus family in November is simply too busy.

I’ll try to post more later this week.

Misnomer

In the springtime, blossoms fall
pink and white, yellow and purple—
like fat, flowery snowflakes—
each one different from the other.

In the summer, cold air collides with warm
causing thunderstorms. Lightning strikes
produce forest fires. Winds whip
and send ashes falling near and far.

In the autumn, leaves turn
yellow, red, and russet
and fall to the ground as surely
as their springtime cousins.

In the winter, the skies darken
and clouds release their moisture;
sometimes rain, sometimes snow,
but always falling to the earth.

Blossoms
Ash
Leaves
Snow

So could someone please explain
that with all of the downward vertical activity
why only one of these four seasons
is called fall?

Glum

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Puddleglum is C.S. Lewis’ Eyeore.

After the rain 4x6

I’m trying hard to see beauty in the world today, but my heart is heavy and my mind finds it all rather futile. Fall is my favorite season, yet so far all I see is death and destruction… and the stubborn will of some to keep going despite the odds, to find beauty, to bloom where they are planted and to do so in adverse conditions.

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Keep championing the cause for the downtrodden. Give hope to those who have no hope. The one who receives your encouragement might be struggling more than you know.

Even Eyeore and Puddleglum need a pep talk now and then.

October Surprise, square

MTM: The streak is over

How do you describe
the sound a raindrop makes
as it filters through the leaves
from the sky to thirsty ground
after 80 days without moisture?

The musical notes
of a babbling brook in the gutter
The percussion
on the roof (almost steady)
like the snare drums
of a 6th grade band

And the hollow emptiness
when those sounds slow to stillness
in the pre-dawn quiet
until all you hear
is the clock (tick, tock) calling
Autumn, Autumn

 

Seeing Rainbows

Life isn’t sacred.

Life is precious and wonderful. It can be tedious or exciting. Life, as Glennon Melton Doyle says, is brutal and beautiful… brutiful. But life isn’t sacred. Sacred means holy, set aside, reverently dedicated to some person, purpose, or object.  I’m not saying that life can’t be those things, but general everyday life doesn’t qualify as sacred. However, there are moments in one’s life that are sacred. Birth, when a baby takes its first breath, causes those present to catch and hold their own breaths, waiting for that first cry as air fills the infant’s lungs. Death is also one of those sacred moments; being present as someone takes a final breath is a holy experience and a sacred honor – one which I count myself blessed to have witnessed.

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My husband and I discussed some of this a few weeks ago as he prepared to undergo an angiogram. We were filling out paperwork for his Advance Directive in the event things went horribly wrong. He didn’t want to have life indefinitely prolonged via medical support if there was no hope of recovery. We did the hard work of discussing how long I should wait for him to come out of a coma or allow him to be on life support, should those things be in our immediate future.

We experienced sacred moments yesterday. It was a beautiful morning: the smoke was finally clearing from our skies. I wanted to visit friends who were camping in a lovely Riverside spot before they left to journey home, so SuperDad and Moses and I drove the short distance to the state park. I walked the first half-mile with them, smiling at how happy our dog was to be sniffing everything. We parted on the bridge; man and beast continued on their favorite hike together while I returned to where my friends were camped. About 30 minutes later, when I was expecting their return to us, SD called to say the dog was having trouble breathing (this was not terribly uncommon and usually righted itself within minutes) so they were resting before moving on. Ten minutes later, a second call let me know that Moses wasn’t recovering well at all, and could I get a cart to meet them? My friend J and I asked the camp host if there was a cart available but she did not have one, so we drove to my house for our folding wagon, quickly returning to the park with it.  We met SD and the dog on the trail: Moses had slipped into a coma. We gently moved him to a blanket and lifted him into the cart. The trail back was rocky and uneven, and the decision was made for SD to go retrieve the car while J and I walked with the wagon along a smoother path until we could all meet up. At a stopping point in the shade, J reached down and pet the dog; she noted that his heart was beating quickly. By the time I reached down to feel his chest, Moses’ heart had stopped. There was no trauma, no misery – just a quiet ending. He was having a joy-filled morning, walking on one of his favorite paths in the woods until with a final wag of his tail, he laid down to rest. SuperDad was there to give him water and keep him company. When Moses took his final breath, he had a loving hand placed comfortingly on him.

Death is sacred, and in those important, holy moments of yesterday, there were people to bear witness to it. Aside from the fact that he was a 14-year-old Labrador retriever – that makes him the human equivalent of 98 years of age, so clearly his time had come – I think that is why I am so at peace with his passing: he was ushered out of this life with loving hands. Moses now at the proverbial Rainbow Bridge, where he is free to sniff whatever he wants to his heart’s content. We weren’t his first family, so if the legend is true Moses will have at least two joyous reunions in the future. There are some wonderful dogs I know of who went before him, and I imagine there is quite the dog party happening now.

DSCN2149 Moses 4x6 WEBSIZED