Monday, August 30, 2010
The crazy thing was there were so many people going to see what was going on and getting out of their cars and just watching. From the amount of people in the street you would think there was a street fair of some sort. I'll be honest I did get out of the car for a minute to peak around the corner. That was it though one minute. I don't want to be there in the way or gawking at some one else's loss. At this point you don't know if there has been a loss of life. So we drove away and I said to Paul, we should like do something for those people.
Yesterday we drove past again after things settle down. Confirming it was not the house of someone we knew. I had read in the paper that while no humans perished a dog and some birds did. Very sad. As we drove past the family was outside sorting through what was salvageable. I felt like an ass for driving past. Beyond that though I wanted to do something for them. I mean they just lost all their material possessions. This is where it gets tricky because what do you do. The people sorting through things seemed to be like a mom and maybe two teenage girls. So my head went racing. We were on our way to Target and I was obsessive I felt horrible for these people. Your house and your pets all in one day. I mean I don't know how other people feel but I think my pets would upset me way more than my house. Anyhow we went through the options. We could drop off some water and lunch. We could send a gift card to a store like Target or Walmart that has so many different items because they need everything. We could stop and ask what we could do. We feared though in that overwhelming moment we would be a bother and not a help. So we settled on let's think about it.
When you look at it gets socially awkward to offer a stranger help even if that is really what you want to do. In our hearts we wanted to stop and do something to help these people it didn't matter that we do not know who they are. Yet it did because it has made us hesitant to do something. It is awkward to say hey do you need some lunch? I wish it wasn't so. If it was your best friend you would just show up with lunch because you already know what they eat and what they need. All I am left with is my human instinct. We came with in two inches of stopping and dropping off water but decided against it as we didn't know if they would still be there. I mean we had it in the cart.
So what does one do in this situation. I am half tempted to go over there this morning and talk to someone. Or leave a note or something. I still am left feeling compelled to do something. I can't shake it. So I am going to go face the awkwardness of it all. It is after all for the human good. If nothing else I can send a gift card to the address as I know mail will get forwarded. I will keep you updated as to what we decide to do.
Now another thought. This is the third destructive house fire I know of in town this summer. This isn't the norm around here. I am wondering if there is a correlation between economic hardship and house fires. I mean I don't even know if economic hardship existed in any of these homes. It's just a thought. Paul also mentioned you see more fires in cities so it would make sense because normally cities are more economically pressed even in good times. So that's just an unrelated thought.
As I was writing this entry I went back to the newspaper website where the article is posted to see if there was an update. There was not but there were more comments on the story. I braced myself and read them because normally you have some jerk on there making nasty remarks or bringing in politics like some how this house fire was Obama's fault and then someone counters with no it was Bush's fault. Really people just shut up. There in the comments I read something horrific. The woman whose house burned was at her baby shower when it happened! Then confirmed in another comment by the mother in law. Now I know this could all be lies. However, I just started bawling. At least now I know what I can do as they are expecting a little girl.
First though research to confirm the truth.
Anyhow, please today pray to your God for these people.
Friday, August 27, 2010
In July of 2008 when I stayed with Caleb and Rhita Mirembe had just come to live with them. She looked not a day over two but she was four. She was abandon by her family because she has Sickle Cell Anemia. Mirembe captured my heart in a way no other child ever had. I fell in love with her. It was the moment I knew that adopted children would be in my future.
This morning I was introduced to Timothy via e-mail. He is also four but looks about 2. He has spinal cord damage and cannot speak or sit or eat solid foods. His parents just left him and my dear friends have taken him in. So here meet Timothy.
I should say yes this is a male child even though he is wearing pink socks and a princess jacket. In Africa if clothing fits you wear it, gender doesn't matter. This was proven by the man I saw walking around Burundi with the top of a cheer leading outfit on in place of a shirt.
So I am sitting here this morning fighting the urge to get on a plane to Uganda and swipe up little Timothy and love on him.
If you are like me you might have the initial instinct to say what kind of parent just leaves their sick child. I will say that is not something that is exclusively African. When I was a little girl and my baby brother had cancer we spent a lot of time in the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. My brother was 5 so he had a room but out by the nurses station were 5 little babies with IVs in high chairs that had been left there by their parents. I have often wondered about them. I was only 7 but it disturbed me then.
Join me today in praying for Timothy and Mirembe and my five mystery babies from CHOP back in 1989. Also for Caleb and Rhita as they truly do God's work.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
It was the strangest thing it was like she left and went somewhere else but her mouth was still talking.
It really upset me for a variety of reasons but I have probably said enough on the matter in this public space.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Sometimes I worry I wasted all my patience on the kids I have cared for over the years. I have watched kids day in and day out since I was 12. Is it possible that spending the last 18 years, did I just say that I am old, wore out my patience and ability to care for my own child? Or was it just a rough couple of days as are likely on this parenting journey?
I read somewhere recently that mother's shouldn't want me time or something along those lines. I can't remember where I read it or what exactly it said. I wish I could remember and reread it because I just disagree with that statement so much.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
The entire time we stayed there I didn't have the itch to get out of the house or go shopping. I am home twelve hours and I am thinking of all the places I could go! So call it what you want. I am noticing.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Preaching gives you a whole different perspective on church. The single thing that surprised me the most was how interesting it was to see all the people. I suddenly felt very connected to everyone even though I don't know all of them. I know many of the faces, many names even but not everyone. I was just overwhelmed with how much we really do need each other. This is not how I normally think about things. So God was stretching me as I was trying to stretch others.
There were a few little blunders but for a first time it wasn't bad. People responded really well to the message I was trying to send out there. So dare I say it, I am proud of myself for today. That is not something I often feel on a level where I just want to gush about it. I learned so much from this experience. I must admit I was a little afraid of doing well because I would be asked to step up again. I think I would though. I think I would very willingly. Although I am quite relieved that I do not have to do it again next week.
I was over whelmed at the hugs and the positive feed back I received. Comments from you are not alone we have all had those days to great job, and my favorite, You really touched/moved me. Really I did? Awesome! That's the whole point of preaching isn't it? To help people connect with God in some way? I was surrounded by some amazing women too. It really helped calm my nerves.
That's the other thing I didn't feel my nerves until right when I started to speak and they quickly gave way to a little confidence. Such a new experience for me. I didn't feel like I was in a room full of strangers either. I felt like I was with friends and family. Even though I missed some of the people I am closest to.
So all things considered I am a happy girl! I had more to say but it is slipping my mind and I really want to nap. Thanks to all my supporters!
Friday, August 20, 2010
I am not sure of anything other than I am sad I have to leave soon and go back to a house where it feels like someone is sitting on my chest all the time. Where little bits of dirt no one will ever notice make me seem neurotic. It is all so strange but it has felt for the most part like a vacation.
Monday, August 16, 2010
The author quote's Emerson as saying death is the kindest way to loose a person. This captured me and made me want to read Emerson. I don't even know what Emerson is famous for writing. I just recognize the name. I recently said to Paul, I can deal with death. I understand that kind of loss. It is by far much harder to have someone you love so dearly so close by but be forbidden to see them or know them in spite of your deep love and good intentions.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
I have also been learning to let go of expectations. That's a hard one. Oh and my control freak tendencies. I took a huge step by having Lilia's birthday at home that wasn't ours. It turned out well and I survived. I have been learning to let go of a lot of things. Too many things to list.
Sometimes we have to let go of people or relationships. This is sometimes the hardest. Be it some one has passed on or just your lives have taken different directions. Recently I had to make a choice like this about a few people in my life. Some bonds simply cannot be ended but have to be re-navigated to a place that is healthy. Other relationships aren't worth it. They can't be healthy in any manifestation so you have to let them go. Such is the case for me. I had to do this in the past few weeks. I had to make a decision that was healthy for me and my family. It is difficult to say the least. However the elements needed to have a healthy relationship were not there coupled with mental illness have made it impossible.
I wish I could write about all the details here but I can't. This blog is a public place and I couldn't write it in a way that wasn't damaging to the other person involved. While I think the actions of said individual speak for themselves, I made a resolution that this blog would not be a platform for publicly bashing people.
What I want to say though is I know I have made the right decision. Why then is it so dam hard?
Thursday, August 12, 2010
The thing is this caused me to spend a great deal of time in hospital waiting rooms. It caused associations to happen deep in my sub conscience. Let's just be honest I have some baggage when it comes to this. I will own my baggage and usually I check my baggage at the gate I don't like lugging around those heavy carry on bags everywhere I go. So my inner voice that screams with thoughts of hypochondria gets shoved deep down so far I can't hear it.
It started young I was about 10 when my niece who was 1 at the time had a bad TB test and I can remember just sobbing convinced she was next. So this adventure of motherhood sometimes makes me a little crazy. First I must say I am so happy Lilia is a girl because thus far it's only the boys who get sick for some reason. If she were a boy I think I would be a wreck all the time. That being said I am a mellow momma I don't loose my cool easily and I keep my head on straight when stressful kid thins happen. I am not a worrier for the most part. I do not think every freckle is a malignancy destine to take me or a loved one too soon.
After my dad died I thought I had closed a chapter in my life. I thought the part of my life that included sick people was over. It lasted a whopping 5 years when my "stepfather" became very ill and died less than a year later. Since then I know nothing is over and everything is always an option. So that whole no more sick kids because we passed that test theory went out the window with Tim's death. It was probably a stupid theory to begin with.
So my dad and brother were likely sick due to my father's exposure to Agent Orange when he was in Vietnam. Actually the doctor's involved said they are 99% sure that is the cause. The government says no, but well that is just a whole new blog not even just an entry. The thing is Agent Orange can mutate the DNA part of cells which means every descendant of my father could be affected in some adverse way. Although the evidence is not as strong, there is some correlation between this and my own PCOS and possibly even my weight problem.
A few months back when there was some concern about Lilia's head size, well I am not going to lie that checked baggage in the plane's underbelly jumped on my back like a monkey backpack and wouldn't come off. I quietly prayed for days until we got the all clear. I didn't pray for the all clear because I figured if something was there already I was going to have to deal with what was there, I couldn't change it. So I prayed for strength and understanding.
So on Tuesday when the Pediatrician sent us back to the specialist early because it just couldn't wait my monkey backpack came back. That monkey whispers things in my ear like, "Brace yourself, agent orange is coming for someone else you love." "This is it, a brain tumor, get ready for emotional war again." "You aren't strong enough for this, don't you want a drink for breakfast." "Wouldn't that entire plate of cookies be better in your tummy?"
Now mind you I knew, as was confirmed today, that there was absolutely nothing wrong. She is hitting all her marks when she should. She has no signs of delays or impaired coordination or reflexes. I knew that in my mind. That dam monkey though wouldn't stop screaming in my ear though. Then I learned I was going to have to go to this appointment alone with no moral support. I am telling you I am a strong girl. I can do many things that are emotionally trying but this seemed impossible to me. Every time I wait in a waiting room it's for bad news. The idea of Lilia being sick absolutely kills a piece of me every time we go running to a specialist for her big noggin. I cried tears of relief on my way home.
The worst part is, I can't tell anyone how panicky my inner hidden voice is because they will just say don't worry you know she is fine. Yes rationally I do know she is fine. There is a part of me that is irrational though. A part of me that carries around heavy baggage from illnesses gone by. Walking into hospitals is hard for me. When Paul was in the hospital a few years ago I am telling you it took 5 years off my life because that voice became so overwhelming that all I could hear was this is it he's a goner. It's only on the inside though. On the outside I do alright. The rational voice almost always prevails.
I know that this has all sorts of psychological reasons and rationals. I am working through all this slowly. A life time of "damage" doesn't go away over night. This is hard for me to share. I think I might prefer standing naked in a room full of gym hounds. It makes me feel very vulnerable to share these things with my closest friends let alone on a public blog. Actually I am not sure I have ever told many of my closest friends about it at all. So please be gentle and have grace.
I work with the kids and most of them leave our town and don't look back. So who then? Even Paul and I plan on leaving in the next two years or so. If one day there stands an I Hop where my dear FRPC stands well I don't think I can bear it. The saints I didn't know are remembered in window panes. The ones I did are in my heart but what of every one else?
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
So I have these friends Thomas and Filomena. I met Tom first when he and I were both getting in touch with our inner religion junkie at Montclair State University. At some point during my studies there I met the lovely Filomena. She really is lovely, I remember it quite clearly she was doing something crafty and had hot pink hair and offered me snacks. First I must say you have never ever in your life seen someone with hot pink hair that looks so very natural on them. The snacks are like her signature move if she were some sort of celebrity. Hospitality is definitely one of their strong points.
Anyhow every time Paul and I have a chance to hang out with them we part ways and Paul and I can't stop talking about them. I don't mean in the OMG did you see her dress it was hideous sort of way. I mean in the we just met a celebrity and kept our cool but now we are freaking out sort of way. So a while back Paul and I had a long ride home from their house and they of course were our subject matter. After we both expressed we wished we could be more like them. I believe Paul said he feels very vanilla after we hang together. We went on a quest to figure out why that was. So here are our observations.
Both Filomena and Thomas are very passionate people. Their passions are as diverse as the clouds in the sky. Each has their own and they share some. I am not going to take the time to list it all here but know they are many. The one passion that stands out though is the passion they have for one another. It is like there is some invisible secret cord that ties them together. I do not imply that this is some type of thread but rather a braided cord that is strong enough to tether a cargo ship. This my friends is a sacred passion that you know is almost holy in some sort of way and while you look at it amorously from a distance you never ever touch it. I think this is worth mentioning because I think it is rare. I do not often see married folks look at each other like this and gush about one another like this.
Two people so in love and committed to it seems like something only seen in movies. I never hear them talk badly of one another. Actually that is one of the things I love most about them. They don’t talk about people other than in relating stories. They aren’t saying mean or hurtful things. Usually if they are telling you about someone else it is about how talented or incredible they are.You also never hear them complaining. Can I just say I love that? Paul and I have committed to doing less complaining and people bashing and it helps to see two people for whom it seems to be so very natural. They take an honest interest in what you have to say too. Our conversations go from religion to art to music to movies to books. They have depth… I love that. I love to be around passionate people. Brilliant well rounded well informed people who don’t push their ideas on you, they just present them for consideration. They are also comfortable enough in their own skin to disagree with you and not just shake their heads in agreement in fear of damaging the relationship.
I could go on for days on each of these subjects however I will just give you a few more broad strokes of what we have observed in them. Kindness, compassion, diversity in interests, they are both brilliant in some fantastic sort of way are just some of the things we have named about them when on our quest.
The last one I will comment on at length is how comfortable they are in their own skin. They are who they are and they do not apologize for it. Yet it isn't in an in your face I am me like it or scram way. Maybe this is normal for most people but remember this is Paul and I making observations and Paul and I often apologize for who we are and in writing that down it sounds incredibly silly. So you can see why it caught our attention.
Now what does all this mean for me and my Mr. Man aka Paul? It means that first of all we are incredibly blessed to know such people. We are blessed further because being with them makes us want to strive to be better people. For example I noticed that I probably do not say enough kind things about Paul. They are both also vegan and I can tell you that while I have no intentions of becoming vegan and for the most part reject meat in my diet, that after seeing them I feel just a twinge of guilt when I butter my toast in the morning. (Somehow I think this single line in here will give them the greatest joy.) I think this is what friendship should be like, what better gift can you give to someone than to inspire them to be the best person they can be while just being yourself?
It also means we hope that our Lilia gets to know them as she grows up because we think they can teach her a lot about being passionate, kind, generous, hospitable and the list goes on. Most importantly though I hope she observes their love for each other and takes note for herself how wonderful that kind of love can be and pursues it her own life and relationships. Examples of love outside your parents are very important after all because every one knows that if you are lucky it isn't until your child is 15 or so that they think you are totally lame in every way. It's funny how after you have a child you view your friends just a little different because you want to surround them with loving people who are healthy examples for them.
You know it is really nice to write about people who inspire me. I feel a series coming on. Watch out no one is safe! In an attempt to be comfortable in my own skin (something I have been working really hard on lately with the help of another amazing friend/mentor)I will spare you the ramble I had prepared apologizing for featuring just two of my many friends.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
So it started off well. Monday was alright. I am currently house/pet sitting at two homes but other than that it was a quiet day. This morning Lilia had a check up. As I was rushing out the door to get her there on time, I was asked to help with tech support for a funeral on Thursday at the church. Not a problem I can handle that. Then we go to the check up and leave with 3 more Dr appointments! There goes my mellow week. Oh well such is life and to think she isn't even sick! Like every parent I hope she gets through life with no major illness. I would like to add on that my entire childhood of waiting in doctor's offices for very ill family members has scarred me. I hate the waiting rooms and hospitals they make me get instantly sick to my stomach. Childhood also wore out my patience for such things as waiting for hours in a waiting room. This is all the more reason not to have another child. Those waits were long enough and I had to live in the hospital for 4 days and I would again and so many doctor's appointments.
I must be off now to schedule about 100 things.
Good bye care free week of floating in the pool.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Then something happened. My friend came and opened the door just a little (when it isn't your door you can't really do more than give it a nudge) and a tiny beam of light came in and shined on my closed heart. I pushed the door open a little more and the light rushed in and shined on my face.
So here I am today stepping into the light! Letting it wash all over my body and heal the wounds I have hidden for so long. I pray I have the courage to stay in the light.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
However here is a reflection from this Sunday's sermon...
Terry said in a story he was relating, we are sorry we don't sell fruit here just the seeds. He then illustrated this with a garden sort of narrative. My first thought was what if my garden is a metaphor for my life. I planted the seeds. I water them. I feed them. They grow. I pull the weeds, sort of, they get overwhelming. Sometimes I use the weed whacker but it leaves the roots. The tomato plants are great. The rest though they are growing and growing and flowering and growing and flowering some more but there is no "fruit" to be found.
Monday, August 2, 2010
2. I live near the ocean. This summer people have been seeing sharks in the ocean. People are hysterical over all this. News stories, videos the whole nine. It's the ocean people! You are going into their house to swim. Why are you surprised when they show up? I mean I know it isn't typical but the sharks are always in the ocean you just can't see them. There are lot's of other things in the ocean too like "killer" whales and raw sewage and garbage and oil. Just because you can't see it doesn't mean you are safe from it. Now when you see an elephant coming to shore let me know because that is news worthy. Take five seconds today and shed your I am human so I rule the roost because I am at the top of the food chain so the sharks need to leave my ocean attitude. Now remember that sharks can eat you and so can bears so stop being so darn cocky. Even a tiny black widow spider can take you down. Next notice that we are all here to SHARE the Earth not rule it so let's share it with our animal friends and stop being so selfish about all this. The ocean is their home don't forget it. Keep your ego in check.
Then again maybe it is all a ploy for Discovery Channel's Shark Week this week. HA HA HA HA HA